Dust you are and to dust you will return. Turn away from sin and follow Christ.
We do this, not because we have serious self-esteem issues, but because we have learned the value of recognising that we have a tendency to fill our lives with things that do not last, and that, in the big scheme of things, have little real value.
However, the dust also reminds us of something else – we are not just dust. We are so much more. We are created in God’s image. We are immortal beings, created out of the stuff of eternity. We are participants in the divine life and purpose, and our lives are filled, if we so choose, with so much that is truly valuable and eternal. The problem is that we too easily forget this and allow the "dust" of our lives to become what defines us.
This year I was reflecting on something that I have heard a number of scientists assert – we are all shaped out of stardust. Literally, the same atoms and molecules that now form my being were once the stuff of stars in some distant part of the cosmos! This has become a metaphor for me. I can choose which dust I will allow to define me – I can choose to live a life that is little more than the dirt that blows around my feet, or I can recognise that I am stardust, and I can live accordingly. Today as I receive the cross on my forehead, I will be praying a slightly different version of the Ash Wednesday prayer for myself:
Stardust you are and to star dust you will return. Turn away from what can only become ash and follow Christ into what is eternal.
Perhaps you would like to join me? Until next time… Abbot