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…and to dust you shall return.

These are the words spoken on Ash Wednesday.

I love Ash Wednesday.  I love Lent.  I love Holy Week.  It’s my favorite church time of the year.  The season of Lent forces us to deal with things most people would rather not face.  it forces me to deal with realities about who/whose I am.  It forces me to deal with my limitations and brokenness.  And to hear words of grace that I desperately need.

It starts with Ash Wednesday.  We are told that we are going to die.  Not only are we told we are going to die, but the message is forced on us – it literally is put in/on our face.  Since our culture is afraid of death, we need to hear this.  Many people are moving away from having funerals where a body or ashes are present to a memorial service or a celebration of life or something of this nature.  I understand this – we’d rather not deal with death.  Death is not a fun topic.  It sounds so final.  Yet, the Good News is that death does not get the final say.

As we go through Lent, we hear about how broken we really are.  We hear how desperately we need Jesus.  We can’t do this on our own.  And thankfully God provides the means.  The Good News is that death does not get the final say.

Then we come to Holy Week.  As we progress through the week, the story gets grimmer and dimmer.  It seems as though all hope is lost.  There is betrayal and handing of Jesus over.  There is brokenness and sin.  There are many lasts.  There are many ends.  Yet, as we go into Easter, we experience the end of the ends – a new beginning.  Resurrection!

We have to experience death before we can know resurrection.  This is the Good News.  Death does not have the final say.  God has the final say.  And it is good news for us.  The best news in the history of the world.

Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.  Remember you are dust, but God will not forget you or God’s promises to you.  Remember you are dust…