Today's verse: Genesis: 3:19 (NRSV)
“you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. The ashes that are used to mark a cross on our foreheads symbolize our mortality. We can also see them used as a symbol for repentance in the Bible stories of Job, Esther, and Daniel.
I know a few other things about ashes. Ashes are used to make soap and melt ice. Growing up, my stepfather enriched our garden soil by adding ashes to it. Supposedly it is great for your tomato plants too! A thick layer of ashes can keep insects out of the garden.
One way to look at Lent is that it is our growing season. The applying of the ashes to our foreheads is the enrichment of who we are, just as it enriches the soil of our gardens. As I heard my Pastor, Rev. Kyle Roggenbuck, say in her sermon tonight, Lent is a time to take stock of who we are, of who we want to be and most importantly who God wants us to be.
Some people choose to give something up for Lent. I ask you to consider the idea of embracing something new. Do something that you have always wanted to do. Try a new food, take up a new exercise or craft. Start a Lenten 2019 journal or pick up that book that you have been meaning to read. Do something that will have you looking deeper into your faith. Ask a friend to join you in this venture.
Paul Galbreath, an associate for worship with the PCUSA’s national staff shares, "Death is a part of life — we’re finite,” he said. “Ash Wednesday is the one time of year the church is really honest about that. We don’t live forever, so the choices we make and the things we do are important, because we’re only here for a short time.”
So let me ask you this, what seeds do you want to plant within you today?