The Sweet Return

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Well, its here - Ash Wednesday - but you knew that. 
I don't like that line, the one about 'dust.' I know its scriptural, but I still don't like it. Each day has enough trouble of its own yet here we go adding ashes to injury. These candle-snuffing ashes of 'dust' which rhymes with 'just' - like in that Neverland movie: 'He can't climb that mountain, he's just a man' or 'That's not a diamond, it's just a rock.' 

Ash Wednesday: 'You're just dust.' Its hard for me to hear you saying that line. I don't want to pray in an unorthodox fashion, Lord...but I am. So here goes. 

Jesus, most of us are knee-deep in ashes everyday, you know that. As foreheads everywhere are smudged with dust, I pray you'd cross our hearts this day with reminders of how you see us, who we truly are in your eyes. Lord, show us our beauty. And please help us to see the beauty of others, that she's not just a politician or he's not just a teacher or they're not just the neighbors or the Church is not just a bunch of hypocrites.

Your beautiful breath kicked up that genesian dust and we became beautiful. May we hear another priestly whisper this day: Remember you are beautiful and to beautiful you shall return. 


  1. Thanks, John...I especially like the "beauty of others"—a great reminder for me. Very pastoral words.

    I'm inclined to melt dust and beauty together...(hoping to offend neither God nor that order): "Remember you are dust and to beautiful you shall return."

  2. Lovely. Thank you for sharing.

  3. This is wonderful- perfect words to read as we start Lent. Thank you.