Today started Lenten Season 2016. And as customary, today was also Ash Wednesday-the day where ash is smeared on the foreheads of the faithful in the shape of the cross. This is common in the Catholic and some Protestant denominations. The wearing of the ashes is a symbol of our being from dust.
The above Scripture-God’s admonishment to Adam and Even after their eating of the Tree of Good and Evil-is a reminder about our mortality. We are from dust, or today we would say the elements that make up the Universe. The elements inside our bodies: carbon, iron, calcium, etc-are found both on Earth and in the stars. It was these very elements that were part and parcel of the formation of humanity; and are found in our present bodies when we have blood work done. We also consume these elements to keep our bodies’ levels at optimum.
However, we will one day return to dust. When we die, our bodies begin a chemical and molecular breakdown. Over time, our bodies will also decay as the breakdown process continues. Even if we are embalmed by a funeral professional, the embalming only slows the decay; we will still break down. Then many years later, we will return to the dust-the elements from whence we were created.
As we begin this Lenten journey, we need to pause and remember that we are mortal beings who have a finite stay on Earth; whether we live only one day or over a hundred years. That we are part and parcel of this Universe-the “dust” God spoke of. We came from this dust, and one day will return to it. This is a journey no one’s exempt from: from the first human to live to the last human who will live.
Father/Mother God, remind us that we are dust. That from dust we came, and to dust we will return. We pray that You will keep us mindful of our mortality during and after this Lenten journey. And with that mindfulness, we will live our lives with Divine wisdom. In Your Name, Amen.