Ash Wednesday, the day we hear “from dust you came, and to dust you shall return”… except this year we don’t need reminding. We have seen the weight of these words in action. The knowledge of what it means to be mortal, to be finite, has been our constant companion these past twelve months.
And what has that companionship shown us? That risk is everywhere. It is in the words we speak, the people we meet, the jobs we take, and the places we choose to go. To be a body of dust, is to be a body at risk.
That is a scary thing to admit, but it’s true! And the big difference is that this year, we cannot pretend anymore. This year, there will be no partial participation in Ash Wednesday. But this might just be what saves us.
By letting the scales fall from our eyes, we can see the movement of God in the ashes. Jesus and the Lenten journey remind us that risk can also lead us to courage, vulnerability, hope, and love.
Amy Jill Levine has a wonderful Lenten book called, “Entering the Passion of Jesus.” Throughout this book she looks at risk from the lens of six different experiences- temptation, reputation, loss, challenge, anger, and rejection. It is a powerful way to begin to digest all that we have witnessed, and all the ways those same experiences are witnessed to us in scripture. If you have been feeling acutely alone lately, maybe this is a great lenten journey for you.
Everyone’s experience of these risks is different, but all offer some wisdom and insight into how we might better know our human nature, how we might see more clearly our impulse to lean into or away from God, and how we might better understand Jesus.
Risk is everywhere, but so is God. Let us have the courage to seek Jesus through it all. Blessings on your Lenten walk with God.
Lord, guide us as we walk this dusty Lenten journey with you… Show us the wisdom in owning our brokenness, and the beauty in your redemptive love. Amen.