Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ash Wednesday

Today being Ash Wednesday we will be off to church tonight to receive the imposition of the ashes. It is always a moving service, a time for reflection and preparation.

It struck me that the words used in the "imposition" have a far wider significance than the obvious if you consider them carefully:

"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. 
Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ."

Those who have read this blog when I have posted on matters religious will know that I believe forensic examination of the evidence we have from the New Testament makes me believe that Jesus was a real person (Josephus has commented that he is mentioned in his "Histories") and that the empty tomb was not the work of tomb robbers or any other form of sleight of hand. Therefore I have no problem with that latter instruction. However, many people do seem to have a problem with the first part of that statement.

We are indeed dust. The individual atoms that make up the molecules that make up the cells and everything else in our bodies was born in the detonation of a star possibly billions of years ago. At some point the atoms that make up the corporeal 'me' that currently wanders this earth will be returned to the dust that litters the universe. While I hope it won't occur too soon, I do have the hope that this life is but a preparation for something greater.

So tonight I will go and submit to being anointed with ashes and hear again the words "Dust you are, and to dust you will return."

1 comment:

  1. I assume that you are referring to the 'Big Bang', and I can agree with your point about us returning to dust. I am unfamiliar with the ins and outs of Ash Wednesday, but I did enjoy my pancakes yesterday evening! When I lived in Glasgow, one could tell which religion one belonged to on this day, with people walking about with black crosses daubed on their foreheads. Targets perhaps?