Time has carried me forward into strange lands and tonight I will look into the eyes of my parishioners in my United Church of Christ Congregation and mark their heads with ashes.
What I once looked as a “dirty forehead” has become for me a remarkable symbol of death and rebirth. As a child I couldn’t have understood the words, “You are dust.” As an adult with the bitter experience of losing loved ones to death, I find the words oddly comforting.
Tonight I’ll encourage the remembrance that human life is short and, no matter who you are, it will end. So I seek the message of encouragement is tucked away in the ash. From death to life, from change to change, from dry wilderness to verdant oasis, God is present in fire and ash, in hope and dread, in Coke and M & Ms. Amen.