Lent is traditionally a time of mourning and grief, and I have never in my life been in a more appropriate frame of mind for the season.
As the pastor put the ashes on my forehead this evening, he said, "Remember that you are from dust, and to dust you shall return."
Immediately I thought of that Tuesday night - the Tuesday which needs no date or month. A parent who had come to school because his son was still on campus described what he had seen when the earthquake happened. He was in his car, and he saw a huge cloud of dust rise from the city. It was the dust of buildings shaken and destroyed, the dust of ruin, and in that moment many human lives returned to dust as well.
Dust. It's all dust.
Joel 2:12-13 "Yet even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.
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