Wednesday, February 22, 2012
A Dose of Reality
The television hucksters are constantly trying to sell vitamins and creams which have anti-aging properties. Magazine covers often tempt those standing at the check out to buy and read the inside the pages article on a newly discovered fountain of youth. Not only are we told we can look better (which usually translate to younger), but we are also told we can live longer. The one thing left out of the sales pitch is the reality that death still comes after we buy it all.
Ash Wednesday has come once again and with it the ashes and the message, "You are going to die." Even the church softens the blow a bit by saying, "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return," but the hard sobering message still has a way of penetrating the facade of impenetrability causing us to swallow a dose of reality. It may be true that the average life expectancy goes up with each decade and that people are living longer better, but there still comes that moment when it is all said and done. We shall all die. Each one of us.
The message is proclaimed no where else in our culture. Perhaps, the church with its message of faith in resurrection power is the only one which has the ability to speak it. The gray ashes of our mortality touch us at the beginning of a season that takes us to the glorious message of resurrection. So, we receive the ashes, we hear the words about our mortality, and we, in faith, say somewhere deep in our spirit, "Yes, but..." Reality is that we shall die and reality is also found in the Resurrected One.