“From dust you come and to dust you shall return.”
It’s usually said solemnly, as a cross of ash is placed on someone’s brow. The dusty ash often comes from the palm fronds of the previous year’s commemoration of the Palms and Passion.
But I wonder…
what if the ash came from somewhere else?
What if the ash came from a display of fireworks, bright and alive in a crisp, dark February night?
What if we gathered it together, strewn by the wind, into a cup, and darkened our foreheads with it?
Lent may be a time of penitence, but penitence doesn’t always require solemnity. Turning around – repenting – is an action that takes energy and life. Sometimes it takes tears and laughter – both in bright bursts and in sustained glow.
What would it say to us if, as that ash were placed on our skin, we felt the presence of the Holy Spirit flashing in the night – if we could feel our faith bursting forth in response?
Would that change how we say, “From dust you come, to dust you shall return?”
Would that change our, “Amen?”