I remember the first time I saw someone with ash on their forehead in observance of Ash Wednesday.
It was in college (that’s how denominationally aloof I was). It was a professor of mine, Dr. Dillon–great American History professor. [If you read this, Dr. Dillon, I fully regret not caring more about your courses…aging often speaks its own rebuke.]
I thought it strange, though, the ash. Messy and unnecessary. Uncivilized perhaps.
I thought myself as somehow beyond such ancient practices.
I also grew up a little during college, and a bit more since.
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
I need that reminder.
The psalmist captures it in a hauntingly beautiful fashion: Psalm 39:5 “Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days, so that I may know how short my life is.”
Microscopic organisms and Mack Trucks and malignant tumors are no respecters of persons.
It’s going to end.
Life, that is.
When is the variable, not if.
Ash to ash, dust to dust…
For what or whom are you living? Spiritual or not, everyone has to answer.
Do you live for what you get more of when you die? If so, you could say, like St. Paul, “to live is Christ; to die is gain.”