Ashes of Transformation!

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

Tonight, we pause to remember our reality.

Reminding people that we are all going to die is a daunting task; a task made even more daunting by our modern practices of denying death.

Tonight, we set aside our culture’s denial of death and we remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return.

Our impending death has always been, and this side of the grave, will always be with us.

I believe that we push away thoughts about our own death simply because we do not know precisely how or when we shall die.  In the face of such unknowing, we feel helpless and for some of us, that helplessness provokes our fear.

Our fear is precisely why we need to remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return. For in the remembering fear itself can turn to dust.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to Dust. Earth to Earth.

Earth dust.  We are part of something far bigger than we can ever begin to imagine.

Earth dust. Particles assembled in a 14-billion-year-old adventure; a MYSTERY born out of stardust. WOW!

Tonight, we pause to take notice of our eternal REALTY; for we are stardust!

Eternally begotten, of ONE BEING with our CREATOR.

The Irish poet and mystic, John O’Donohue writes this about death:

 “Maybe at death, there is a very beautiful meeting between you and yourself, and then you go together into the invisible kingdom where there is no more darkness, suffering, separation or sadness, and where are you are one with all those that you love in the seen world and in the unseen world. Death in that sense is a time of great homecoming, and there is no need to be afraid.”…

“If you could interview a baby in the womb, a baby that was about to be born, and the baby asked you what is going to happen to it and you said, “You are going to go through a very dark channel. You are going to be pushed out. You are going to arrive into a vacant world of open air and light. The cord that connects you to your mother is going to be cut. You are going to be on your own forevermore, and regardless of how close you come to another, you will never belong in the way you have been able to belong here.””…

“The baby would have no choice but to conclude that it was going to die! Maybe death is that way too. As it seems that we die from inside the womb of the world, we are born into a new world where space and time and all the separation and all the difficulties no longer assail us. We are coming home!”

O’Donohue’s words point us away from our fear of death toward our hopes for death.  So, tonight, let me suggest that these Ashes may be for us, transformative ashes; ashes of transformation.

May our fear of death be transformed into hope.

As we begin our Lenten journey, we are encouraged to “repent.”  This word “repent” comes to us from the Greek word, “metanoia” which can be translated as “to turn around” or “to change our way of thinking.”

So, tonight may these transformative ashes help us to repent, to change our way of thinking about our death.  May these transformative ashes transform our fear into hope.

May we be transformed from fearful beings, into hope filled beings, who rejoice in our eternal reality.  For we are part of something so much bigger than we can ever begin to imagine.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to Dust. Earth to Earth. Stardust to Stardust.

This too shall pass.

In the twinkling of an eye we shall all be reborn.

And all shall be well.  All shall be well. For we are dust and to dust we shall return.

Eternally begotten, of ONE BEING with our CREATOR.

Amen.