I attended Ash Wednesday service at the Church of the Redeemer in Biloxi. The priest brought home the message of Lent: the need to sacrifice for the health of your faith. I was one of the first to receive the mark of the cross as the priest intoned, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
I walked back to my seat, knelt, closed my eyes and bowed my head. The priest continued to recite, as each person was marked, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
We are all made of star dust. Stars went through their life cycle to create the elements that make up you and me. Our star, our sun, will follow that same process, adding to the dust from which others will come.
At some moment every single atom, everything our world ever was, will be recycled into star dust. You will end, I will end, the very ground we walk on will end. Lent is not an easy message.
When I opened my eyes, everyone was smiling and wearing the sign of the cross in ash on their foreheads. We know this is not where the story ends. Lent is a season of preparedness, intending to guide us through the coming transition. The story doesn’t end with Lent, or with the cross, or in a supernova, but it does start with sacrifice, reflection and penitence.
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.