Today is a sacred, symbolic day for the church. As a proclaimer of Jesus (with a long history of irrational sentimentalism), I place ALOTTA importance on this day, Ash Wednesday. The emotional youth group kid still trapped inside me absolutely LUVS this somber kick-off to Lent, the heavy meaning behind burnt palm branches and anointing oil, the grounding reminder of the dust in our bones.
“For dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Those words still me every time.
But today, and maybe for this season of Lent, I want to land on a different piece of Scripture calling us back to our beginning.
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
I think of those first passages in Genesis, the pure poetry behind a creative and involved God. I think of the light and the earth and the sea spinning into existence, the glory of God stamped onto every atom of this created universe. I think of the magnitude of God, and the smallness of our galaxy, our sun, our world, in all of it. I think of our outright insignificance, and the pure beauty of every tiny thing in our tiny lives.
I think of God, an infinite and uncontainable God, and his illogical interest in us, in me, right here and right now.
I think of how the story goes, how God saw this world and declared it good, from the sun and the moon and the stars to the mountains and sycamore trees and untamed oceans. How God filled this world with created life, wild, beautiful, bizarre animals to run and swim and fly. How God took his time and fashioned in his way every big and little thing that catches my eye and breath.
And then, after all of that perfect detail poured out straight from God, he crouched down in that created dirt, the smallest grains of sand in this grand and glorious earth, and thought, “Just one more thing before I’m done.”
I think of how God, creator, artist, poet, scooped some of that dirt into his infinite hands and formed eyes, hands, legs, a brain, a heart, arms, knee caps, eyelashes, ears, hips, lungs, bones, marrow.
And then, miracle of miracles because creation was not yet complete, God leaned in close and breathed his infinite breath into this dust cavity, awakening every handmade inch.
Today, as I close my eyes and remember the dust from which I came, I will press into the God who wakes it up in me.