At the Ash Wednesday Service I imposed ashes on foreheads using the traditional words, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
The next day I realized just how important it is to remember that we are dust when I was found unconscious on the sidewalk outside the church office. While I still do not have a memory of exactly what happened and no one witnessed it, I am aware that life can be very precarious.
When I impose ashes I add the words, “always in the hands of a loving God.” I don’t know of anyone else who does this, but I cannot fathom leaving any reminder of the transitory nature of life without also reminding people that the Giver of Life is a God of Love. This also became important on a personal level for me when I did not know the extent of my injuries or possibilities of recovery. All life is in the hands of this God of Love. It may be that we live with pain and limited abilities. It may be that we do not live long on this earth. No matter what our “dust” experiences are, the love of God is there for us and in it we can find strength, peace, and healing of our spirits.
During this time of the church year we are preparing for the celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection. While we are always mindful of the problems of living as human beings with all our conflicted desires and unjust outcomes, we look forward to celebrating LIFE itself with its ability to endure, heal and improve. We can interpret Easter as proof of a personal promise of eternal life, but it is also the celebration of collective humanity continuing to live.
The faith in the continuing goodness of life, in general, is reinforced when we experience the blessing of loving connections in a supportive community. Life is good when we realize we are loved. It is an oddity of our normal behavior that we remind people that they are loved when they are ill or facing adversity more than when the routines of life are good. Any time we can remind others that we love them is a good time to do it.
So, personally, I want to thank everyone who expressed their love and concern for me after my accident. I hope we can really appreciate Life as we celebrate Easter on April 21.
Pastor Phil Konz