Ashes to Ashes

“Remember you are dust, and unto dust you shall return”. We have heard that sentence many times. Upon hearing it again this year on Ash Wednesday I started to think about it. Do I really understand what that means. For one, it is a reminder that our bodies are temporary. In essence they are the physical “containers” needed to function in this temporal world. In the natural world we live in we are mightily focused on our bodies, and rightfully so. It is imperative that we be good stewards of the body given to us by the Creator. Just as important, if not more so, is how we use the body God gave us. Do we use our bodies and talents to glorify God, to build and nurture His community, or do we use it in a demeaning or corrupting manner towards ourselves and others? I think a good analogy would be leasing a car. Renting doesn’t have quite the same incentive, less ownership of the consequences. When you turn in a leased car you are evaluated based on how well you maintained the car and whether or not you abused it based on the original agreement. Whenever you turn in a leased car with more miles on it than the contract allowed for, you must settle up with the owner. I often wonder how much I will owe when I reach the pearly gates. Thankfully He is a merciful God.

Physically, our bodies grow and peek relatively early in life, then we maintain as best we can. Ultimately pieces and parts wear out. Personally, I am just on the cusp of reaching my physical peek…okay, enough of the snickers…we all know that isn’t true. My body has plenty of creaks, cracks and cramps and having to stretch out just to take a morning walk is no fun. What I do know is my body is aging. I also know that while I may think hey, it would be great to have the body of a 40 year old again, I know when I am 60 I will wish I had the body of a 50 year old and so on. I know this through observing people older than me. There is no end to what you can learn from those older than yourself. What I have seen is that while the body weakens over time, the spirit continually grows and forms. Therein lays the beauty of God’s plan. While watching and listening to people older than myself who have spent a good portion of their life growing in spirit, we can see how ageless we can truly be. Instead of wearing out over time, our spirit has the potential to grow and refine continuously. It should be our goal for our spirits to peek (at least in terms of this life) at the end of our life on earth. It is then that we have prepared ourselves as best we can for whatever the next phase of life brings us in our immortal journey.

In this endeavor of life on earth, the body and spirit work together. The spirit provides guidance our bodies can act upon, and our bodies provide the physical means to aid in spiritual development. Be it physical strength, achievement, malady or suffering, how we deal with what our bodies hand us directly correlates to the strengthening of our spirit. With God’s plan, nothing is ever wasted.