Ash Wednesday – 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10
[God] orchestrated this: the Anointed One, who had never experienced sin, became sin for us so that in Him we might embody the very righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:21, Voice)
Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return. (Ash Wednesday Worship)
These painful words begin our season of Lent, our Lenten Journey if you will. You are dust and to dust you shall return. Many worship leaders have said these or similar words over the past two millennia. You are dust and to dust you will return.
It is a painful reminder of the mortality of our human nature. It is a painful reminder that this life will not continue forever. It is a painful reminder of the reality of change.
But it is also, if you listen a bit below the surface, a joyous reminder. While this is a painful reminder of the mortality of human life, our very mortality, when viewed through a lens of faith, is a reminder of the promise of a resurrected life. While this is a painful reminder that this life will not continue forever, it is a joyous reminder (when viewed through faith) that there is more in store. While this is a painful reminder of the reality of change, when heard with ears remembering what God has done with dust before, it is a promise that God is not through making us, creating us, fashioning us as a people after God.
Christ has joined our mortal life, so that we may join his life with God.
When you receive the cross of ashes, do not forget that simple truth. God has become like us, so that we may join with God forever.
Gracious God, out of your love and mercy you breathed into dust the breath of life, creating us to serve you and our neighbors. Call forth our prayers and acts of kindness, and strengthen us to face our mortality with confidence in the mercy of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
~ Pastor John Sipf, St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (Verdon) and St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (rural Falls City)