RE: [asa] dust

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Tue Jan 20 2009 - 19:46:25 EST

Even the legendary Adapa/Adamu/Adam donned sackcloth and ashes in
preparation for his meeting with the father-god. So that ceremonial
gesture of abject humility and repentance has a long, long history.

Dick Fischer, GPA president
Genesis Proclaimed Association
"Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 4:34 PM
To:; Michael Roberts
Subject: Re: [asa] dust

Seems OK to me. "Ashes" are, strictly speaking, a sign of repentance in
the Bible - z.B., in Jonah. But the liturgical connection with "dust" &
thus Gen.2 & 3 is well established. At one level, "Remember that you
are dust & to dust you shall return" means "Remember that you are dying.
It was rather sobering to have my teenage daughter come forward for
imposition of ashes and to say that. & when mothers bring their babies
with them - well, they're going that way too.

But as this post points out, we are dust given the hope of resurrection.
That's in one of the US BCP anthems in the Burial Service. "All we go
down to the dust. Yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia,
alleluia, alleluia!"

A few years ago in the Ash Wednesday sermon I made the ashes-dust
connection a little differently. What we are made from is - remotely -
not the dust of the earth but the "ashes" of exploded stars. (How's
that for making the science-theology connection?)


---- Michael Roberts <> wrote:
> What do any of you make of this?
> It is NOT my writing!
> *************************
> In order to know and love God we need also to know the truth about
ourselves, and that begins with accepting our frailty and need of
repentance, which is one reason why in many of our Churches we have the
sign of the cross made on our foreheads in ash at the beginning of Lent.
Ash is a sign of our need to repent and it also reminds us that we came
from the dust of the earth and will return to dust.
> Dust is the symbol of nothingness and something that is pretty
meaningless, and just a speck in the universe. Is that really all God
is saying to us when He passes judgement on us in the book of Genesis ?:
'In the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread 'til you return to the
ground, for out of it were you taken; you are dust and to dust you shall
return.' No! This isn't all God says to us because the dust we are is
mingled with the sign of the cross put on our foreheads in Baptism. The
Son of God who died upon the cross became the dust that we are, and so
filled it with glory. God has redeemed and transformed the nothingness,
the commonplace, the meaningless, and that means that speck we are in
the universe is destined for glory.
> In Lent, relying on God's grace we try to follow Jesus more closely.
And it is only as we grow into Him that we can genuinely grow towards
each other. We recall our own unworthiness before God and acknowledge
our constant need of His forgiveness, but let us also rejoice that while
we came from the dust of the earth and will return to dust, God has made
us to 'know Him, to love Him and to serve Him in this life so that we
may be happy with Him for ever in Heaven'. May Lent this year be a time
when we let God do His work in us, His dust, through breathing more of
His glory into our lives, so making us ready for that day when His work
of glory will be completed in us, when we reach Him at our destination
in heaven.

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Received on Tue Jan 20 19:47:05 2009

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