“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”
These are the words with which we begin a 40 day journey we call Lent. We begin by remembering.
Seems a strange way to begin a journey. Journey seems to call us forward while remembering seems to turn us back.
So how do we begin a journey by turning back?
Of course, the turning back can be thought of as not in time but as a turning back to God. But if remembering is what it so often seems for us-- a thinking of what used to be, how does the remembering fit into the journeying?
Scripture says, Remember not the former things; I think because remembering the former things can stop us from receiving the new things. We can get stuck in the past which I guess means that remembering can stop us from journeying.
And yet every Sunday we hear at communion: Do this in remembrance of me. And today we start our Lenten journey with the call: Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.
The theologian Carter Heyward writes about remembering in this way: “to forgive is not to forget but to re-member what has been dis-membered.”
So maybe re-membering that we are dust and to dust we shall return isn’t just something involving our minds but something involving our whole lives. Maybe re-membering we are dust and to dust we shall return is re-connecting the things that have been disconnected like our past and our future.
Where we begin – in God – is the place we are returned to. What does that mean for everything in-between if God connects our beginning to our end?
Maybe re-membering during our Lenten journey has very little to do with what we do and a whole lot to do with what God does in the beginning and in the end and in-between on the cross where we are forgiven or in Heyward’s words, re-membered to that from which we have been dis-membered: God and one another and whole selves.
Won’t you come and join in this Lenten journey to the cross where forgiveness happens where God re-members us into Christ’s body.
Ash Wednesday service is at 7pm this evening following a 6pm potluck.
Each Wednesday in Lent we will gather for vespers at 7 pm followed by Lenten Adult Education at 7:45. We gather every Sunday in Lent at 10 am to hear Jesus’ call to pick up the cross and to receive the power to do so.