Cathryn Vitek   -  

There’s the dust that covers my furniture.
And my window sills.
The dust from crushed Smartie candies at the bottom of an old purse.
The dust at the bottom of the Conversation Hearts bag.
Neither tasty nor easily wiped away, drywall dust is the worst.

and then
there is the dust that resides
in a bin of parched, dry play sand.
the moment the bin is opened
a mist of sand dust rises up as a heavy fog.
it’s that dust i’m thinking about today.
it reminds me of the fine, dry sand handed to me by funeral directors,
in the days i presided at funerals,
to sprinkle over the casket in the shape of a cross
and proclaim
“ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
i always felt sad that the people gathered
could hear what i was saying
as i committed their loved one’s body to the ground,
but not see what i was doing.
the shape i was making with the dust
far more important
or at least equally as important
i think
than the
dust to dust
word-picture of our humanity.
there are, of course, words of hope and encouragement
that followed the ashes to ashes and dust to dust part.
big, multi-syllable words we don’t say very often.
but the dust to dust?
those simple, ordinary words stick
because we know what they mean.
they conjure clear images
like the dust-cloud that emerges from the bin of
parched, dry play sand.
which is why i hoped
those gathered would take a moment
as they were taking their leave
to see the dusty funeral sand on the casket.
so they would see the cross.
the cross which means
God’s love conquers all.

Dust (ashes, really) placed
in the shape of a cross on our foreheads or hands
is a meaningful symbol of Ash Wednesday which we observed this week;
it signifies the beginning of our journey through Lent
to the cross of Good Friday
and beyond,
to the Good News of the empty tomb.
It is an invitation to draw closer to God.
To understand how much we need God.
To understand more and more what it means
that Jesus died on the cross for you and for me.
And to embrace the hope we have because he did.
You see, God doesn’t see dust when He looks at us.
He sees His children.
And His love for them, for us, conquers all.

May your Lenten journey be blessed
by the sure and certain knowledge of
how much God loves.

Pastor Cathy