As dust of the ground

“For you were made from dust and to dust you will return.”  (Gen 3:19)

Many paused to reflect.  Others expressed profound sorrow and mourned.  And in Ash Wednesday services around the world, people went forward in humility and reverence before their God.  They prayed, knelt, and bowed.  And upon their foreheads they received a cross of ashes, with the recitation of simple, yet profound words: “For you were made from dust and to dust you will return.”

And with that proclamation all were reminded of their humanity.  All understood their proper place in the massive created order.  Life doesn’t revolve around us.  We are not the center of the universe.  We are but a speck upon this earth, in this universe, in this galaxy.  King David, aware of his own minuteness amongst the grandness of all creation wrote:

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

And yet, despite our smallness and relative insignificance, God is mindful of us.  In fact, He watches over us, guides us, protects us, and loves us.  Who are we indeed?  We are God’s masterpieces, made in His own image.  As followers of Christ we are God’s sons and daughters, fellow heirs with Christ, chosen, holy and blameless.  We are the righteousness of God in Christ.  We are new creatures and we are set free.

Life is lived in that tension.  On one hand we are as dust of the ground – unworthy, insignificant, and incredibly small compared to His mighty power.  However, we are also His treasured possession, held in His very hand and created for a purpose.

What does it mean to you to live in that tension?