Dust to dust...its a reminder to each of us of our mortality. Last night at The Landing was the very first time I experienced having the cross of ashes placed on my forehead. Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of the Lenten season which is the 6 Sundays leading up to Easter. Six weeks of repentance, fasting and abstinence. The ceremony of ashes signifies our humility and a reminder of that mortality...that one day this body will return to dust. We don't usually think about this "shell" being a temporary dwelling for our spirit and taking a few moments to remember this was very moving for me. I am certain that some of my church folks thought I might be crazy! But as their resident presbymethobaptissemblycathocostal, I have learned something from every faith background that touched my life. As a song says that we used to sing in church long ago, "I am only passing through!" One day this body will go to dust but my glorified one will be singing and dancing! You can google Ash Wednesday to study more details if you wish but here is something interesting I found regarding the ashes...
The distribution of ashes reminds us of our own mortality and calls us to repentance. In the early Church, Ash Wednesday was the day in which those who had sinned, who wished to be readmitted to the Church, would begin their public penance. The ashes were received as a reminder of our own sinfulness, and many folks left them on their heads all day as a sign of humility. For Christians, they believe it marks the spiritual and physical beginning of the Lenten season. The moment the ashes are placed on the forehead starts the personal beginning for each person.
As a sold out follower of Jesus, I believe that He already paid the price for my sins. By grace I am saved through faith...faith in Christ. But taking some time to think about the significance of this ceremony, I am able to see so much more. By being "ashed" I was able to realize more deeply my own humanity and the fact that without God I am nothing. It brought a newfound look at repentance into my heart. One sweet sister came up to me after service and told me that she was raised Lutheran. She said if anything ever happened to The Landing she would go back to that church:) Then she told me how awesome it as that we did this and how it made her feel close to the brothers and sisters she has there.
My prayer for each of you is the this process of repentance, restoration and renewal will be more vibrant than ever during this season of Lent. If you'd like to join me in a 40 day reading of scripture through Lent go to youversion.com and choose the 40 Day Lent Bible reading plan.
God bless you as you draw closer to Him!
Genesis 3:19 9 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return."