Knee Deep in Ashes

by Ashley-Anne Masters

The morning after a parade is never pretty. The flowers are wilted, there is candy in the streets, random clothing is strewn about, and the trash is just waiting to be picked up. The Monday after the Palm Sunday parade was no different. Sure, the donkey had been returned to his rightful owner, but there were probably a few cloaks stuck on tree branches here and there amid the wilted palm branches. No crowds. No cheering. No music. No royal treatment.

For all intents and purposes that Monday was ordinary. Yet, there is nothing ordinary about the last Monday of Lent. We have been knee deep in the ashes of our finitude for nearly forty days and the much needed Palm Sunday celebration did not last long enough. We are back to living among the shriveled palms and ripped garments, and it’s natural to want to pull the coats over our heads and go back to bed. However, we were not formed out of dust to be dormant creatures.

We were formed out of the dust to be the ones who remember that those wilted palms and piles of ashes were once beautiful celebratory signs of hope and joy. We were formed out of the dust to remind the man who was just diagnosed with cancer that he is promised a future and to tell the grieving mother that she has every right to refuse to be consoled. For we in the health care profession were formed out of the dust not only to “do no harm,” but to bring healing and hope to those whose bodies and minds have been wilted and messy for far too long.

As children of God, we are nothing but dust-precious, intentionally formed, created-for-a-purpose dust. Throughout this Holy Week, may we be assured of our identity as God’s beloved. And, as we journey from the Parade of Palms to the goriness of Golgotha, may we behold the face of the infinite God among the finite ones entrusted to our care. May the promise that the sting of death has been defeated quench the droughts of our souls once more.

Hope in God, for we will celebrate again.

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