The Second Gaze – Ash / Dust

It is about 18 hours late but I have new words for me for Ash Wednesday.  This morning as I was reflecting on this photo I took about “dust”, I came across these words in the Ash Wednesday liturgy from the United Church of Christ…rather than the traditional “remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” they added another word…a beautiful word, a reassuring word, a hopeful word…beloved.  

Remember that you are God’s beloved dust and to God’s beloved dust you shall return.

I love that.  It reminds me that the dust from which I come is out of God’s own creative hand and that the dust I shall become is a part of God’s work as well.   But the liturgy also has words that remind us that the our mark as God’s beloved isn’t an exclusive thing but instead a wide, inviting welcome as all of creation is God’s beloved…

One:   Friends and neighbors, in the middle of this season of Covid-19, we pause to observe Ash Wednesday together as a faith community.

All:    We remember that God made us from fragile, blessed dust and breathes through us the breath of life and love.

One:   From dust we are created in God’s image and to God’s good dust we shall return.

All:    With dust and oil we claim the mark of God’s beloved creature.

One:   Today we begin our 40-day Lenten journey to discover who we are created to be as God’s beloved.

All:    In daily practices of prayer and service we will embark upon this Lenten journey.

One:   We follow Jesus, God’s Beloved Child, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh in whom we see God’s image most clearly.

All:    So come, let us pray for strength and imagination to follow Jesus wherever he will lead us this Lent.

Beloved dust…I like that.  

Categories: The Second GazeTags: , , , , ,


  1. I love the additional of the word “beloved.” I just read Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved and bought a necklace with Beloved stamped on it…such a deeply needed reminder for all of us.

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