I reflected on this passage this morning as Rev. Michelle and I filled about 100 small vials with ash from last year’s Palm Sunday palms. Because it is Valentine’s Day tomorrow, we are foregoing an Ash Wednesday Service. Instead, at tonight’s pancake supper, we will invite those who attend to take with them one of these small vials.
The ash that we traditionally put on our foreheads at this time of year is meant to be a reminder of the finitude of this life. From dust we were formed and to dust we shall return. We do this at the beginning of Lent to acknowledge our own mortality but also because the season before us leads to the cross, the empty tomb and eternal life.
This psalm is tied to what we acknowledge and what we celebrate, that we are finite but with God we find eternity. The breath of God in this passage reaches both back to creation and forward to pentecost, always pointing to the movement of the Holy Spirit and how it is integral to our living.
As we enter into this Lenten season, let us breathe deep of the Spirit that gives us life and guides us on.
Let us pray
Psalm 104: 27-30
These all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.
God of the journey, we begin the road through Lent reminded that all roads have an end. But just as we will not remain in the tomb, neither will the greater journey end. Shine the light of your hope on we who walk the smaller roads, paths that lead to you and to your embrace. Just as we are dust and to dust we shall return, so to are we of the Spirit and to the Spirit that we shall return. This is the heart of our life and faith. We offer this and all our prayers in the strong name of Jesus Christ. AMEN