March 6, 2019
In a few moments you will all receive ashes on your forehead and hear those familiar words, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Do you remember your response to that? (Most people would say, “Amen” but that’s not right.) Actually, there is no “official” response in the liturgical norms, but the not-so-official response is simply this: “Not yet!” I’m not dust yet.
Indeed, our Ash Wednesday liturgy does call us to remember the truth both in expressed in word and in the ashes we will soon be wearing: We are dust and to dust we shall return. But what is equally important for us to remember today is the “not yet.” I’m not dust, YET. It might be forty days or forty years of forty minutes, but I’ve got time. And what we do with that time is what Lent is all about. How will I spend my forty days, or forty years or forty minutes?
We each have a finite time on this earth, a finite time to do what God call us to do. Lent is that wonderful reminder to take a careful look at how we are spending that time. It gives us the opportunity to change our priorities, shuffle what’s important and what’s not, to change our behavior. Lent gives us the chance to take a careful look at how we are spending our God-given treasures and our God-given grace, to think about who we need to forgive and to whom we need to seek forgiveness. Lent gives us the window of time to, as they say, get our things in order.
We are dust. And to dust we shall return. But not yet.