Dust to Dust

Dearly Beloved,

Join us for our Community Ash Wednesday worship today at 7:00 pm in person at our congregation or on Zoom.

Today is both Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day. Ash Wednesday invites us to reflect on our mortality, on the shortness of life, and on our connection to the universe -- earthly existence. "Remember you are dust, to dust you shall return." Sometimes we say "stardust" -- after all, we are indeed made of the dust of stars from explosions hundreds of millions of years ago at the Big Bang. I love these reminders: of our interdependence, of our creatureliness, of our being a part of all that was and is and that will be. That's what it means to be part of God.

And on Valentine's Day, we are invited to reflect on love. Sure, Hallmark wants to sell cards, the grocer wants to sell flowers and Kay's wants to sell jewelry. But for me, this day is about love and belonging and connection. My children take cards and treats to share with every child in their classes. It doesn't matter if they're a best friend or the kid having the most severe behavioral struggles -- they will each get a Valentine from Cora or from Ezra. 

I think we could take a lesson or two from that approach to the day -- how do we spread love? How do we include everyone in our community? How do we especially look towards those who are single, widowed, unhoused, and so on? 

Remember you are [star]dust and to [star]dust you shall return. Remember, life will not last forever. Remember that you are part of the cosmos -- God's creation. And in death, you will return to creation. Remember that you belong in community. You are beloved. Whoever you are. For me, it brings to mind poet Mary Oliver's question: "tell, me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" 

In this Sunday's scripture reading (Mark 1:1, 9-28), we will hear about the beginning of Jesus' ministry. Towards the end of this particular passage, Jesus encounters a man with demons, and the demons ask Jesus: "What have you to do with us?" The King James Translation inverts the question, asking: "What have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth?" 

What have we to do with Jesus? 
What will you do with your one wild and precious life?
What does it mean to be made of stardust? And in the image of God? And called to follow Christ? 

These dear ones, are the questions of the life of faith. I hope and pray that these questions will journey with you this Lenten season. And that you will cherish the questions as much as any answers you may find. 

Sending love and blessings to each of you,

p.s. Our order of worship will be different on Sunday and will include prayer stations during our singing time. Music Minister Nikki and I hope that we will be able to cultivate a time of deep prayerfulness and curiosity.