Remember that you are Dust
So here we go again.
I am going to try to blog for the 40 days of lent like I did last year. This year I hope that the season won’t be interrupted with the large amounts of hospitalization that last year’s lent was marked with.
This morning, I attended my favorite liturgical service of the year at my friend Ian’s church.
This year the thing that jumped out at me like never before was the phrase that the minister says as he puts ashes on your forehead.
Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
As I knelt, reflecting on this I realized how many of mine (our) problems come from the fact that we forget this. Maybe because I grew up in a faith tradition that emphasized the importance of our actions in our sanctification or because I am in ministry, but I often think that Jesus needs me to do things.
But He doesn’t. The kingdom has done just fine without me for thousands of years and it will be just fine when I am gone. My church will be ok, even if I don’t use my gifts. I get so filled with a strange sort of pride.
It’s something I have called Esther syndrome. We have been taught that God has made us for such a time as this (which he has), and he needs us to do this or that (which he doesn’t). In my life this idea has led to so much anger, so much sin. I feel that God has put me in this position to control it and shape it. When things don’t go my way, I turn to Christ in frustration. My leadership quickly becomes anger. I was reminded of this by my friend Tim who found the following quote from Dan Allender and Tremper Longman’s Cry of my Soul:
Anger (especially the anger of a leader) attempts to rectify God’s passivity by empowering us to act instead of waiting vulnerably for God to do something. It is not only a protection against harm and an energizer for battle; it is a taunt against God for apparently refusing to act on our behalf.
And this anger is I feel is justified. But it’s not. I am dust. It is ok. Jesus loves me and will rescue me. And one day, probably sooner than I imagine, I will be dust again.
Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return. And Jesus is quite alright with this.