Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The ashes of Ash Wednesday do remind us of our own mortality. It is impossible to miss this as we hear the words, "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return." It is definitely not one of those feel good moments folks want to experience when they show up at church. At least for a moment it tends to take some of the wind out of the sails filled with human arrogance and human energy.
One of the things which makes the message important for us to hear is found in something Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus. In the 16th verse of the 5th chapter, we hear the Word saying, "Be careful then how you live, not as an unwise person, but as wise, making the most of the time..." As the ashes cause us to consider our own mortality, so do they call us to understand how important it is to make right choices and to embrace good priorities. Too often our choices and priorities are related to climbing whatever ladder is in front of us, or making sure that the world around us is geared toward stroking our hungry ego.
Making the most of our limited time is not about getting to the top of some social or economic ladder, but investing our life in the pursuit of God and His ways. While it sounds strange to secular ears, anything less will leave us at the end filled only with emptiness. What satisfies is not more of the world's stuff, but more of what it means to be rightly related to the One we know as Creator and the other ones we know as the people who truly care about us.