For you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Genesis 3:19
What does Lent mean to you? What are your expectations, if you have any, during this season of Lent? Do you hope to discover something deeper about yourself, your faith, your God?
This Wednesday, we entered into this season of Lent through the symbolism of ashes.
Why ashes? What is significant about ashes?
In the book of Daniel, we see ashes referred to in the form of penance. During Lent, we enter into a season of conversion, a season of turning away from sin. As we receive ashes on the forehead in the form of a cross, we may hear the words uttered “remember you are dust and to dust you shall return”.
In the book of Genesis, God creates man from the dust of the earth. When we die our bodies decay and return to dust. How does this physical sense of dust connotate a deeper meaning in the spiritual sense during the season of Lent?
Recently I’ve been reading a book by Lysa Terkeurst. What she points out is the significance of dust not signifying death only but its participation in creating.
If you dropped a piece of pottery, it will break and may shatter into a million pieces. This dust from the broken pottery can be reformed into a clay when mixed with water and reshaped into something more beautiful than the fallen piece.
Some of you may have experienced an earth shattering moment in your life such as a sudden loss of a child, a divorce, or a terminal health diagnosis? In that moment you felt that your life and world around you broke into a million pieces. And if you have gone through such an event, you know that it is only in faith that those million pieces create something better. The dust of those broken pieces are reshaped into something phenomenal that only God could be the potter.
As we enter Lent those ashes have a deeper meaning for us.
Just as the shattered clay and moments in our lives become dust, so does our spirit as sin enters destroying it.
Lent is a time of walking through the desert as Jesus did for 40 days.
As we walk through these 40 days, we call to mind the areas in our lives that have shattered our relationship with God.
Each day as we reconcile our relationship by repenting, the new creation from the dust of our sin will begin to glisten transforming us into our “transfiguration” as we grow in sanctification.
Isn’t this our goal, our objective during Lent? To become a better version of ourselves, imitating Christ as we walk in this temporary life?
As we’ve entered this journey through the desert, our invitation is to experience a dying of self, becoming dust. As we enter the Easter season, allow that dust to be mixed with the waters of our baptism creating a new self, conformed in relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Blessings to you during this Lenten season.
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