Dust and Ashes


Greetings in Christ,

 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.  Genesis 2:7 (ESV)

"In the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, commend Almighty God our brother, Commit their body to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust."  Occasional Services - The Burial of the Dead.

When God created human beings, you and I, in His image, He began with the dust of the earth.  He shaped that dust and breathed into it the breath of life.  That divine breath sustains us in life and without it, we would not be, we could not be.  Thanks be to God that He has chosen to give us life and by His loving mercy, sustains that life.

We all know that this life, this body, will one day cease and return to the dust of the earth.  The earth has been described as one huge cemetery.  Those who study these things estimate that there have been 108 billion people who ever lived on earth.  Of that 108 billion, only 6.5% are currently alive.  The dust of this planet is filled with those who have lived before us.  Each person now alive has a 100% chance of adding to that dust.

These would be gloomy statistics if that is all we could say of human life.  It would make of our time on earth a short span of years followed by uncounted ages.  IF this is all we could say, but it is not.

We confess and believe that the God who has created us, and all things, is also the God who has chosen redeem us.  God is not content to have merely created us.  Out of His great love for us and all things, God has chosen to take on human flesh, to live and die among us, to die for us, and, instead of returning to the dust of the earth, Jesus is raised from the dead by the glory of the Father.

As we enter Lent, we receive a touch of ashes on our forehead and hear the words, "Remember that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return."  We begin Lent with the reminder that we will die, and were it not for our Lord Jesus, dust we would remain.  His victory over sin and death is our victory, our life.  

May we enter Lent in the confidence that the God who has created us is the God who saves us.