During Lent the Bread Line Columns
will be ideas from
“A Practical Christianity”
by Jane Shaw
This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and this week we have the second part a two-part article about dust.
Our Lenten discipline begins by having a pastor mark our foreheads with ash, reminding us that we have come from dust, and we will go back to dust. We share the Lenten litany, in which we state collectively what we have done that was wrong, and what we have left undone. The forty days that follow provide a dedicated opportunity for personal examination, and in
our faith community they may allow a space for collective reflection and examination, too. God wants us to be more than our human limits, and with God’s help we can be, but we have to know what those limits are. This is a spiritual practice.
Jesus once again guides our practice. He challenged them to do the work of self-examination, to discern where we continually fall short and recognize how our dustiness, (sin) prevents our living freely and fully. We need to learn the spiritual for ourselves so we can keep on discerning
throughout our lives what to wrestle with, what to let go of, and how with God’s grace to re-engage to effect a transformation. We all have dustiness, limits, sin, and eventually the only course is to deal with it.
The point of reckoning with the reality of dust---coming to accept our created nature, including the flaws—is to move towards and embrace life in all its fullness. God longs to bring us to new life despite our limitations, for there are no limitations with God. Out of our dust, through the clouds of dust that we shake off, comes new life.
What does Christianity bring to the quest for a moral life, the struggle to live with our dustiness? It gives us the promise that we are created of dust and in the image of God and that we will be accompanied in our journey by the love of God, a love greater than our sin, greater than our limits.
Consider the phrase: “From dust you have come, and to dust you shall return.” In what ways do these words comfort you? In what ways do they challenge you?
Check out the calendar for details about our Lenten Study beginning February 21 and continuing until March 28. Ash Wednesday service will be February 14th at Bobby and Taylor's house.