It is Not Dust to Die

“Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” This thought provoking sentence may seem a bit too macabre and dark for a follower of Jesus who claims of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” However, hundreds of millions of Christians submit to this reflection each Ash Wednesday.

Dust happens. One quick glance at the top of your refrigerator and you’ll nod in agreement.

Anna, Karen, Bishop Williams, Kevin, Rufus. Four year old Elijah and eighteen year old Elijah. Lots of dust happening around me these past few weeks.

What I REALLY like about “Remember, O man, that you are dust,” is that it isn’t true. Totally false. Not a hint of accuracy. Okay, maybe a hint.

Kerry Livgren’s famous lyric, “All we are is dust in the wind,” sums it up beautifully. Poignantly. Famously. And dead wrong.

People much smarter and wiser than me selected the dust motif for the “Imposition of the Ashes.” I respect them and church history.

If, perchance, I was on the “What do we say during the Imposition of the Ashes?” committee, I would have argued for a slightly different emphasis.

“Remember, O man, that your body is dust…” I would have pleaded.

Jesus, our Lord, didn’t dustify (home-made word warning). Not one dust particle of Jesus the Messiah exists anywhere in the universe. The Psalmist (Psalm 16:10) and Luke (Acts 13:35) place significant emphasis on the non-dustification (home-made word warning two) of Jesus, “…neither will you allow your holy one to see decay.”

I know.  None of us are Jesus the Messiah, so our experience will be different than His.

Maybe the Apostle Paul would say it something like this today. “The tent? It will be folded up and return unto the source of its creation (the dust of the earth). The resident? Lives forever.”

Lent’s Great Fast punches reality in my face.  Part of me is temporary. Part of me is eternal.

It is not dust to die.