A Journey of Re-Enchantment – Part 5

A Journey of Re-Enchantment – Part 5

A Journey of Re-Enchantment – Part 5 768 1024 Andrew Hicks

The Hicks family went to their very first Ash Wednesday service today at Calvary Episcopal Church. The priest, ministers, and members were all so welcoming to me and my family. The liturgy was beautiful and wonderful and mysterious and holy. In addition to celebrating the imposition of ashes and receiving the Holy Eucharist we were also given a visitor’s gift bag from the greeters. The contents were delightful. There were native wildflower seeds (which Hannah just went and spread out in our front yard!), a fridge magnet, and a beautiful prayer towel with a cross embroidered on it.

As we all received the imposition of the ashes we heard those holy words that have been spoken for centuries: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

The Biblical precedent for remembering that we are dust is strong:

Genesis 3:19: “… you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 13:16: “I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.”

Genesis 18:27: “Abraham answered, ‘Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.'”

Deuteronomy 9:21: “Then I took the sinful thing you had made, the calf, and burned it with fire and crushed it, grinding it thoroughly, until it was reduced to dust; and I the dust of it into the stream that runs down the mountain.”

Joshua 7:6: “Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the ground on his face before the ark of the LORD until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.”

Job 42:6: “…therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

Psalm 90:3: “You turn us back to dust, and say, ‘Turn back, you mortals.'”

Psalm 103: 14: “For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust.”

Psalm 104:29: “When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.”

Ecclesiastes 3:20: “All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again.”

Lamentations 2:10: “The elders of daughter Zion sit on the ground in silence; they have thrown dust on their heads and put on sackcloth; the young girls of Jerusalem have bowed their heads to the ground.”

Daniel 12:2: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

Tobit 3:6: “So now deal with me as you will; command my spirit to be taken from me, so that I may be released from the face of the earth and become dust…”

Sirach 10:9: “How can dust and ashes be proud? Even in life the human body decays.”

Sirach 17:32: “He marshals the host of the height of heaven; but all human beings are dust and ashes.”

Sirach 33:10: “All human beings come from the ground, and humankind was created out of the dust.”

1 Maccabees 11:71: “Jonathan tore his clothes, put dust on his head, and prayed.”

2 Maccabees 10:25: “As he drew near, Maccabeus and his men sprinkled dust on their heads and girded their loins with sackcloth, in supplication to God.”

2 Esdras 7:62-63: “I replied and said, ‘O earth, what have you brought forth, if the mind is made out of the dust like the other created things? For it would have been better if the dust itself had not been born, so that the mind might not have been made…'”

1 Corinthians 15:47-49: “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.”

We are dust and to dust we shall return, but we look forward to Easter when we shall become more than dust. Death will not have the last word. In the words of the Eastern Orthodox liturgy for the day of Easter (or Pascha as they call it), we look forward to the “death of death, the annihilation of Hell, the beginning of a new and everlasting life.”

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