We live in a world that highly values power, the power to dominate, the power to control, the power to change. But often, when we consider our own circumstances and our current lifestyle, we feel powerless to do anything to make changes for good. It is difficult for us to admit this personal weakness, but we have to realize that it is the way that God intended for it to be. In Genesis it records that God formed man of the dust of the earth. There must have been a dozen other things that we could have been formed of, but God chose the least impressive of all building materials to form our bodies. But then, and here is the miracle, He breathed His very spirit into this insignificant dust, and it records that man became a living being. We remain even so today, dust held together by the very breath of God. The liturgy of Ash Wednesday reminds us of this created frailty, “Remember O’ man, (or woman), you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” Without the power of God to hold us together we are no better than the dust we were made of, without form, without life, without purpose.
During this Lenten season we need to recognize that these two things are at war within us. The dust that we are made of drags us always down into the earth where we are quickly lost; the breath of God lifts us upward and gives us a vision of a heavenly kingdom where justice reigns. In the garden of Eden our humanity received two gifts. From our father Adam we inherited original sin that always seeks to corrupt, to break down, to kill. From our Father Almighty we received His very image and likeness pressed into our hearts, and it is that divine spark of life that makes us eternally who we are intended to be. Which of these will we listen to during this season, which of these will we give the control of our lives over to? Each day is a new choice, to allow ourselves to be dragged down into the earth and return to the dust or to be called up to the throne of God in heaven and become His sons and daughters