Wednesday evening, as the ashes were imposed upon my forehead I heard the words spoken over me by my fellow pastor, Mark Rooks, “For you were made from dust,
and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3: 19 NLT)
The liturgy says, these are words spoken to remind us of our mortality but to me they are words that point to the cycle of grace to which we are called, the path we are to follow. And with the weather already unnaturally warm in our area, the longing to return to the dust has been stronger than ever.
I grew up on a farm and there is no clearer representation of the pathway of grace than the annual seasons and movements of a farmer. When winter lifts its cold mantle from us and its imposition of rest upon the farmer is fading, we return to the dust and resume our work.
- We prepare the soil and align the nature of the dust to align with what we are planting and intending to cultivate.
- We plant the seed. Or, you could say, we sow our faith, waiting for the seed we plant to die and reemerge as a sprout of new life.
- We cultivate what’s been planted. We water it. We tend it. We wage war against the weeds but never at the expense of what’s been planted.
- We harvest what we plant and rejoice over God’s gracious ways and blessing in our lives.
- We put up what we have harvested: canning, preserving, and packaging everything so we can live off of what we planted or someone else can.
- We save seed for when we will return to the dust again.
Yes, there is a longing in my heart to return to the Lord and begin a new work of grace in my life. Whether it is the imposition of ashes or the lengthening days of spring that awaken us, may each of us be drawn into a deeper, fuller, and more hands on and intimate relationship with Jesus.
Remember, “You were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3: 19 NLT)