Wednesday, March 9, 2011

He remembers that we are dust

In the two years that constituted my M.A. program, my sister had a frightening brush with death, my sister-in-law had a miscarriage, my three-year-old nephew had heart surgery, a friend from undergrad was shot, a grad-school friend was diagnosed with Leukemia, a friend from church lost her two-year-old, and two friends from former eras lost newborn babies.

Remember that you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.

But this year, before I could prepare to enter the season that reminds us that sin and frailty ravage our bodies like my friend’s cancer, I was startled by the hope of the resurrection that awaits us on the other side of death. Old friends who have struggled for years with infertility just picked up their new son in Ethiopia. Two of the friends who lost babies are holding another in their arms, and the other is holding one in her womb. The frail bodies of my sister and nephew and grad-school friend have made it through the ailments of their blood and heart and bone and found life at the other side. My family just celebrated the second birthday of my nephew who was born nine months after his brother or sister passed imperceptibly out of the womb.

Bless the LORD, O my soul…
who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit…

Despite the beauty of life and healing in the previous paragraph, the mystery of the Christian story is that it holds both paragraphs together: Christ does not destroy death; he enters into it, paving the way for us to follow into life. Isaiah says that “He will swallow up Death forever”; he will consume it until “Death is swallowed up in Victory,” until it becomes the nutrients broken down and digested in Victory’s stomach.

As we enter Lent, we are not rewinding the story to an earlier scene before Christ’s Resurrection; we are progressing deeper into the story of the renewed creation. Our sin and frailty that we meditate upon for these next six weeks is the place Christ has chosen to enter; we go there to meet him. Lent is a time of grace.

As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.

For he knows our frame;

he remembers that we are dust.

1 comment:

Casey said...

This is a really great post for the start of Lent. Thanks for sharing!