“Dust you are and to dust you will return.” To me, that’s one of the most familiar lines in all of Scripture. I’ve said this very thing to individuals at least 2,000 times throughout my life. Now, if you’re not familiar with Christian practices related to Ash Wednesday, it probably sounds odd to you. Why would anyone say such a thing to people, not to mention thousands of times? But, if you have participated in an Ash Wednesday service, you realize that when I said to people, “Dust you are and to dust you will return” is in the context of imposing ashes on the foreheads of worshipers.
Today is the last of three devotions that respond to the question: How does Ash Wednesday relate to our work? Though the official recognition of Ash Wednesday happened two days ago, the fact of our mortality – the central meaning of the holiday – remains. We may not have ashes on our foreheads today, but we are still made from dust, and to dust we will return.
Both holy ashes on Ash Wednesday and on-the-job frustrations in the present, point in the same ultimate direction – to Jesus, to his saving death on Good Friday and his victorious resurrection on Easter.”
Ash Wednesday reminded me – and still reminds me – that death is one of the great “levelers” in our world. No matter how powerful or wealthy you might be, no matter how influential your leadership, you will die, just like every other human being.