In our solemn celebration of Ash Wednesday, we are invited to remember our beginnings and our endings. God breathed the breath of life into the dust of the earth, and we, who once were not, BECAME. At a time beyond our knowing, we will return to dust, joining all-things-once-living in the great compost heap that is this beautiful earth. It is a reality that we carry with us in every moment- some of us more exquisitely aware of our mortality than others. Today, we carry our awareness as a badge of our identity, smudged on our forehead for everyone to see. We are dust, the smudges say. We are frail, and we are mortal, the smudges imply. And we are placing our own dustiness in the hands of the one who made us, confident that the ONE who was there before we BECAME will continue to be there when we no longer ARE.
In reponse to God’s faithfulness as our Author and Comforter, we admit our frailties, our faults, our sins. We seek repentance and find, in doing so, that the smudges on our forehead have cleansing properties- wiping away what has separated us from God and clarifying our own purposes in a wider schema.