Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rejoicing in Dust

"...For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return."
(Genesis 3:19b)

Hello, my little bloggy friends! :) Oh dear, I'm not sure if some of you are ready for shouting on Ash Wednesday. :O Forgive me if I've startled you, but I'm genuinely happy today. Is that allowed, you ask? Yes, even on days when we contemplate our mortality, Christians are, in fact, allowed to be happy! We can even smile, if we feel so moved! I am happy because I am going on a special journey with Jesus. True, we don't have pealing bells ringing in Lent. It is a more quiet time. The banners hung on the church walls are not especially ornate or brilliantly colored. The church, while still clinging to the joy of Christmas past and the hope of Easter's arrival,seems a bit more subdued. I also bear an ash cross on my forehead, reminding me of my mortality and my sin. Are some of you scratching your head, wondering why any of this would make me happy? Read on-- I'll get to that, I promise ...

I am an extrovert with a capital E. I am silly, I am spontaneous, I am creative and ... um ... there is no delicate way to put this. Y'all, I'm kinda LOUD! I firmly believe that God made me short to avoid scaring off the general population. Surprisingly, I actually have a great deal of introverted friends. I enjoy them so much I married one! I have learned that there are times when my introvert amigos need me to liven things up, and times when I need them to help me center myself and avoid getting completely overwhelmed, over-committed and yes, even over-caffeinated. There are times when they need help thinking outside the box or expressing themselves, (and goodness knows I always have enough words to share) and times when, in a moment of quiet observation, they catch something that I surely would have missed. Just as people who vary add richness to my life, so do the seasons of the church year. I see Lent as my quiet, subdued friend. Yes, sometimes introspection brings conviction and possibly even pain, but it also offers me great hope and encouragement. Without Lent, Christmas doesn't have a gift to bring and Easter is totally void of a reason to rejoice.

Genesis 3:19 seems like such a harsh statement to come from a loving Creator, doesn't it? Did our Heavenly Father actually utter an equivalent of, "I brought you into this world, I'll take you out"? Not exactly. I believe it grieved His heart to punish His most beloved creation. We were made from dust (ew), but we were created in His image. Our God is so amazing, he can create something beautiful from dust. Ladies and gentlemen, I assure you, I have yet to find "beautiful Dust" anywhere in my home. From the top of the T.V. to the lint trap in the dryer, it's just gross. I know there are lint traps and cobwebs in my heart that get just as nasty. And yet, just as God was able to create a human being from the dust, He sent Jesus to clean our filthy hearts by dying on the cross. The ash on my forehead reminds me that I am but dust without God. The shape of the cross reminds me that I am a precious Child of God, created in His image and redeemed by His Son.

Lent is full of such a mixture of diverse lessons, rejoicing in the knowledge that we are "but dust" seems a fitting beginning to me. I hope you'll come to see the value in this time as I do. This journey isn't always easy, but you will never walk it alone. Thank you for taking this first step with me tonight!

In Lenten Love and Friendship,

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