By Interim Pastor Rick Biedermann American Lutheran Church, La Porte City
On Ash Wednesday many people have ashes placed on their foreheads with the words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” In a culture that often denies death and aging, we begin the season of Lent with a somber and perhaps uncomfortable truth that we are mortal. We are all going to die someday. It is unavoidable. This truth keeps us humble and lets God be God. As a pastor who does the imposition of ashes the reality becomes almost too clear as the words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” are repeated over and over again to all ages, the babies and the elderly.
The Apostle Paul says that “the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” Death can certainly seem like an enemy when it takes a loved one away from us. But Christians can face the reality of death with the belief and the hope that death has been destroyed by the death and resurrection of Jesus. We begin Lent with the reminder of our sin and of death but we end with Easter when Jesus was raised from the dead so that we too might have the promise of a new life.