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Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Abraham answered, "Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. ~ Genesis 18:27

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

~ from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer burial service

We are stardust. We are golden. And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden. ~ Joni Mitchell

Incarnation is already redemption...Christmas is already Easter because in becoming a human being, God already shows that it's good to be human, to be flesh.   ~ Richard Rohr

Today is Ash Wednesday, the day in the Christian Tradition when we are ritually reminded of human mortality and frailty by having ashes placed on our foreheads in the shape of a cross.   Liturgically, we listen to, read, and recite biblical passages about sinfulness and the need for penitence and redemption.

But what if the ashen cross reminds us, as Richard Rohr says, that "Incarnation is already redemption?" What if our salvation is in finally discovering who we really and already are.  

And, who are we?  According to one blunt description I recently read on the internet: "We are ghosts driving a meat covered skeleton made of stardust riding a rock floating through space."  The humbling imagery of Ash Wednesday is even more blunt:  We are dirt - we live - then we are dirt again. Dust to dust.

However, between the "dust" of birth and death is a tiny preposition expressing motion toward a particular destination.  In the "to" we are amazing creatures with intelligence, imagination, desires, emotions, hopes, dreams, and so much more!  The "to" is awareness of the mystery and wonder of it all, mystery and wonder that infuses all of creation and especially humans, eternal mystery and wonder that many of us call God. But not a God over and apart from creation, rather, God with us, in us, and through us.

Ash Wednesday is a day to contemplate mortality in order to remember immortality.  The awesome (in the true sense of the word) "to" we call life is our destination, now and always!

As on recent past Ash Wednesdays, I invite those of you in the Clearwater area to join in a different kind of observance that captures some of my thought above.  If you can, please join us!  If not, then wherever you may be, I encourage you to, in some way whether attending a formal service, sitting in silence somewhere or going for a walk, take a few moments today and reflect on your immortality - your "to".

 “Stardust to Dust
--a Deep Time Creation Liturgy
for Ash Wednesday”

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Trinity Clearwater Presbyterian Church sanctuary

A multi-sensory, multi-media, contemplative liturgy of humanity and the cosmos through a guided, self-paced station to station pilgrimage that connects the miracle of creation with the wonder of life, seeking new dimensions & understandings of our presence and responsibility in God’s creation.
You may begin the pilgrimage anytime within the designated times.

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