Dear members and friends of ACB,I know that Lent is supposed to be a season of self-reflection and penance (confessing our sins) and not about enjoyment, however, I have always found Ash Wednesday to be one of my favorite days of the Church calendar. Not because I “enjoy” it but because I so oftenneed it. I appreciate Ash Wednesday because I need time in my life to closely examine my own mortality and limited lifespan and the limited nature of our worldly treasures. Our money, homes, land, cars and careers will all come to pass. Even the things which we think are bigger than ourselves like our relationships, community, nation and families will pass away. We may be able to hand off some of our treasures to the next generation, but ultimately that generation comes to an end as well as they turn into dust.
Science tells us that we may have up to a billion tiny atoms that make up our bodies which were once part of a historical individual. There are atoms which are part of our bodies that may have once been part of not only our parents, but Abraham and Sarah, the apostle Paul, even Jesus. The dust that once made up the bodies our our ancestors is also part of the dust that makes up our bodies today. No matter what it is that we pass on to the next generation -wealth, houses, land, genetic material, personality traits -all of it ultimately turns to dust. Everything on this earth faces exposure to rust, moths, thieves and death.
In the night he was betrayed Jesus told his disciples of his last will and testament. The death of Jesus was more than imminent at this point. He gathered some of his closest friends and even some who would betray him. He told them how he wanted to divide his estate. It turned out that he was pretty generous and bestowed the bread of life and the cup of the new covenant to all people. He didn’t have much to pass on as far as worldly treasure was concerned. He couldn’t even give away the shirt off his back since the bible tells us of the Roman soldiers casting lots for his clothing. So since he lacked any earthly treasure to give to his disciples, his betrayers, he instead gave away what he did have -the Kingdom of God, eternal life, abundant life, forgiveness, freedom, faith.
If you have thoughts or questions about mortality, if you are curious about dust to dust, I would love to hear from you. Maybe this year.
Walking together into this holy Lenten season, Pastor Mari
More to come in our next newsletter.