for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
We begin Lent with the solemn reminder of the words of our Creator, “you are from dust and you are going to dust.” This reminder is not to make us feel worthless, but to remind us how transient life is and how fragile is our existence. That is why we have Lent, so that we may take seriously our relationship with God, the ways we have failed in living into God’s image, and the wonders of the Resurrection as it relates to creatures like us.
This brings us into an attitude of soberness as we consider our existence. A sober look at ourselves and the ways that we have allowed sin to mess up our lives and relationships. A sober look at the things we hold as valuable and place them in their proper perspective. And a sober look at the purpose of our lives and fulfilling its meaning.
Lest we think that Lent is all a “downer” time, let us remember the fact that we are only dust reminds us of the profound love of God for us. My favorite Psalm says:
For he knows how we were made;
he remembers that we are dust.
Besides the mark of dust and ashes that we wear for Lent, we also bear another mark. We have been marked by baptism. The Apostle reminds us, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27.) Through the work of Christ, we are not just dust blowing in the wind, we are baptized dust, loved by our Heavenly Father and kept on his mind. We are transformed dust robed with the Son of God that loved us and gave himself for us.
During this Lent remember that you are baptized dust, so go and act like it.