“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” – Genesis 3:19
When I was little, our neighborhood had a committee of residents that mediated small squabbles between neighbors and awarded “Yard of the Month” to one of the many perfectly manicured homes around our own home. My father would spend hours each weekend in the yard meticulously trimming and edging blades and bushes hoping to one day arrive home from work with that small three by three white sign declaring “Yard of the Month” protruding from his prestigious turf.
Sometime when I was in middle school, after years of not receiving the prize, he declared it was a rigged crony system, and allowed me to begin to mow and edge. I think my father realized that all the time, money, and effort he spent was futile. He had a nice yard, but the mythical white sign would never appear, and it was time to move on with life.
When Lent begins, the forty days of preparation for Good Friday and Easter, a pastor will often pray over the congregation the words of God to Adam and Eve, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” These words were spoken as a judgment to Adam and Eve, pronounced as a response to sin, and labor would be difficult and often futile for all of humanity. The perfect had given way to the necessary.
This season of preparation, for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is a time to search our hearts and ask these questions: “What am I chasing after in my life? What am I allowing to drive both my desires and my actions? What am I trying to achieve or accomplish before I die? Do I think it is worth the time and effort I spend to get there?”
Our job promotion is not worth losing our family. Our neighbor’s car or larger house is not worth losing our peace of mind. Our well-manicured social media account is not worth losing our contentment. You and I are made of dust and in just a short time we will return to dust. Let’s take time to reflect on these days preceding the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection. Let’s assess what kind of trail of dust we might be leaving behind us.