Australia’s Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983 left town after town in ashes; Aceh’s 2004 thirty metre tsunami consigned 170,000 people to mud; Syria’s torched Damascus lies in ruins, a pile of ashes; Typhoon Hagupit has committed to the earth a thousand dreams.
With ashes upon their foreheads Christians today listen to age old words: Remember, O human one that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.
The starkness, the brevity, the truth of it! But Christians also know that the dust the world so loves to sweep away is the dust that God sweeps up. In Christ ashes become the new heaven and the new earth.
O God, continue to work in the midst of a dusty, ashen universe, and do for every person what you did for Jesus. Raise our dust. Raise our ashes. Remember, O God, we are universe dust and unto you we shall return. Amen