You are going to die.
That’s the central message of Ash Wednesday. It’s why we tell people to turn away from sin or we remind them that they are dust. We say so because it is a simple truth. Our lives have a limit and one day it will all be over.
The worse news is that some of us will get there much faster than the rest of us. Some of us will die young, some will die middle aged, some will die as elderly people.
But we are all going to die.
And many of us are not exactly thrilled with that notion. We’re afraid of what might come next, or that we’ll be shortchanged on our life, or that we’ll be forgotten all too quickly.
But here’s the good news.
It doesn’t matter.
We mark ourselves with a cross of dust on our heads to mock death, because we believe that death is the beginning not the end and no matter how we die, tomorrow or in 50 years from now, God will take care of us anyway.
Because we believe and because we are unafraid to live our lives as Christians.
So we mark ourselves and we do so because we want to be recognized as Christians, so that others might “call us out” when we don’t live up to our values. We want to be true to who we proclaim to be and who we hope to continually become.
Are we afraid to die? Or does death no have it’s grasp on us because we know the one who changed death into life and have faith that the same will happen for us, despite our sin and because of Christ’s redemptive love?
Today, may we remember that we are dust and unto dust we shall return and therefore let us turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.