The Mark of Love
The Mark of Death
Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God of his great mercy to take unto himself the soul of our dear brother here departed, we therefore commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
The Mark of Life
And these days the whole you-are-turning-into-dust Ash Wednesday message is particularly radical. Because based on all of the gym memberships we have, green smoothies we consume, and aghast hospital rooms I have ministered to, we all now assume that we will live forever. If we can only be healthy enough or spiritual enough or hardworking enough, then maybe we can reverse the inevitable.
Of course, we cannot. And this is a good thing. Life would be absolutely horrible if it were actually one successful self-improvement project after another. We would become entrenched in our own deeds. Lost in our own remarkable talents. Fixated on ourselves or all of eternity.
Perhaps dying is actually the most romantic thing God does for us. It is the last thing we would expect and the best thing that could possibly happen. We die to ourselves, to our desires, to our unquenchable drive for the illusive better.
Failure is a gift. Death is a blessing.Sarah Condon
So may your dust-to-be find sweet relief.
And love feel entirely unearned.
Have a wonderfully romantic Ash Wednesday, everyone.”
Prayer of Preparation
you have created us
out of the dust of the earth.
May these ashes remind us
of our mortality
And provoke us to humility
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.