Last Monday, I went through the a bit of a rollercoaster in terms of fitness. Having taken up running again during lockdown, I was appreciating running at my best pace in ages as I clocked up my 7th kilometre. Then suddenly without warning, my calf muscle popped, I was forced to hobble the remaining 3 kilometres back home! And then, to add insult to further injury, as I was compensating for a bad leg, and putting greater pressure on the other one, my back went into spasm!! I am officially becoming an old crock.
In our Ash Wednesday prayer service earlier this morning, we were all reminded not so much about the fragility of simply growing old, but of that concerning our mortality. “From dust” of course refers to our and all humanity’s creation, drawing from the accounts in Genesis as to how God formed Adam from the earth, and of course “to dust” refers to the demise of our mortal remains, after our deaths.
Now if I’m honest, despite attending funerals in my teens, and actually taking them from the tender age of 25, my own mortality only really dawned on me in my 40’s. As such, I baulked at the prospect of introducing the concept of death to Ash Wednesday services in the past, particularly when daubing the forehead of infants brought along by their parents. But if these Covid times have taught us anything over the last year, it is that life is precious and shouldn’t be taken for granted, whatever age we are.
Indeed after the introduction: "Remember that you are from dust, and to dust you shall return” comes a further invocation, which again can apply to any age. In the past we have used a number of options. Last year's was: "Turn away from sin, embrace God’s hopes for you, and live your life, to the full.”
Previously we have had: "Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ. Repent and believe the Good News: God longs for you to be whole." This year, (to fit the card that Millie designed) we reverted back to the traditional: “Turn away from sin, and be faithful to Christ”.
All however, move away from simply an absence of negatives, “turn away from sin”, and look ahead in hope faith and trust to the God who we believe wants something better for us.
This Lent, as we now enter another period of waiting and preparation, please be encouraged to continue to be faithful to Christ, and seek His face as we discover and live out the hopes He has for us all.
Keep in touch
Keep the faith
Download a printable card here.