Remember you are dust

By Roy Stetler
February 14, 2024

Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) is a fresh start in faith—in humble prayer. Waiting with God. Listening. Placing ourselves before God, humbly, honestly. The first step is honesty with ourselves. The merciful love of God—grace—sets us free to pray. . .into the presence of God. No facades, only simple honesty.

Ash reminds us that we are dust. We are creatures. I believe it is our brains that convince us otherwise. They set “the bar” impossibly high and then pretend that we successfully accomplish what we were never intended to be or do.

The sooner we humbly embrace our birth, life, and death in dust, the more freely we can live in love. The Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, reading scripture, partaking in holy communion and humble service–these all ground us for honest living in the peace of Christ.

Jesus lived a life of holy poverty, of sharing with and for all. At the end of Lent, we behold Jesus on the cross. As we also embrace the cross life, we grow in our freedom to love. As we “die” with Christ, we release the need to pretend or to fear dying. Jesus knew this from the beginning of his ministry. He was free.

This Lent, may we join our hearts and our lives in (healthy!) self-sacrificing love. Not despising, but offering ourselves in gratitude, with honor, in love. May we walk and serve with Jesus, in honest prayer, beloved children of God.