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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Ashes’ as in… “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

It’s fascinating to consider how many times these words will be spoken today. Around the world, millions of Christ followers will gather together in order to take the same first steps on a journey that each one will experience in vastly different ways as we begin the season of Lent.

The word “Lent” comes from an old English word for “lengthen,” and refers to the lengthening of the days of spring. We express gratitude for how the season of Lent gives us a few extra moments of light each day to consider what spring, new life, hope, and promise – resurrection means for us and the way we live with one another in the world.

By week’s end, I’ll have officiated at two funerals. And each time I speak these ancient words, they have a fresh meaning. “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust” is a powerful reminder of our essence; of who we truly are, of our ancient connection to the Creator who created us once, and still continues to create us to be a blessing to others.

Today, when the cross was traced on my forehead, and those ancient words were spoken, I actually felt the physical pressure of the thumb against my forehead. As I felt that pressure against me, I had to think about footing as I absorbed the cross on my forehead. And it reminded me of all of the things that push against me in my daily life: fear, misunderstanding, selfishness, brokenness, my ability to often make an utter mess of things. And yet, “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” is the message that intends to turn all of us toward Jesus who invites us to come along on a journey; a journey with him to the end of ourselves in order to reveal the beginning of who we’re becoming: recreated,  living, breathing, resurrected people.

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return.


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50works project, where be blogs about a different word each day. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche), or on his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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