I wish I was preaching today, but I’m not. Today my friend and my colleague is preaching, and it is an honor to hear his word. I wish I were preaching though because on this day I feel so glad to be alive. Yes, on this day, the day we remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return, I feel the sweet joy of life.
I think that is really what this day is about. The sweet joy of life. Many folks see it as a dreadful reminder of our immortality; they see it as being symbolic of doom. But I don’t believe that is what it’s about; I believe it is a reminder to “seize the day,” to seize the moment, because our moments are limited; but right now is a gift.
We are stardust; we are billion year old carbon, and out of that dust God formed us, gave us breath, gave us senses, and gave us life. If that is not a miracle, then I don’t know what is. My tomorrow is not guaranteed. That is part of the deal. I don’t know how long I have to enjoy this life. But today reminds me that I have today; I have this moment, and it is up to me to make the most of it.
In this moment I able to see the sun outside my window glinting on the snow. I am able to hear the sweet sound of water dripping from the eaves. I am able to touch my friends, and to feel the warm embrace of those to whom I belong. I am able to smell the warm animal smell of my dog, and I am able to taste the goodness of the fruit of the earth. Do I notice those things? Do I delight in them? Or are my thoughts elsewhere?
My life is precious to me, and I believe that I will miss it when I am no longer of this form. One day my body will return to the dust that it came from, and those who love me will mourn my passing. But I have a deep and abiding trust that death is a doorway to something else; something better. I trust that our being is not a mistake or a random hiccup in the universe, and I trust that when I leave the earthly home of my body, my consciousness will return to my heavenly source.
If I were preaching today that would be my message, but I’m not preaching. So I’ll just share these thoughts with you instead. Blessings on your Ash Wednesday!