Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

2/15 2013

Ashes to Ashes

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A few days ago Christians of both Protestant and Catholic flavors around the globe celebrated Ash Wednesday, or at the very least acknowledged it. This day is to serve as a mark, not only to the start of the Lenten season but also to our constant and continued dependence on God in our lives, for from dust we are and to dust we shall return, and dust we would still be if it were not for the craftmanship of the Creator.

At the service I attended on Wednesday, the pastor talked about having a choice.  He used the analogy of preparing plates of food, for a lot of time we may be tempted when dividing out the portions to put the better food and larger quanities on the plate we designate for ourselves.  But when it comes to serving the food, we then have a choice: do we keep the better, larger portion for ourselves, or do we serve that instead to the other person.

So we’re talking about something more than just a plate of food, even if it’s a plate of aparagus risotto with extra parmesan.  We are talking about this sculpted biological complicated heterogeneous yet functioning pile of ashes we call a body through which we facilitate and navigate this equally complex time process we call life.  And the question then becomes, what portion of life are we serving God?

To me that seems a strange question, like wearing a suit you know isn’t yours, so I sat at my computer and stared at it. As I grappled with this question, I realized the wording of dividing and portions in my brain brought about this image of shared custody, that some days I had control over my life and other days God had control.  Which is ridiculous, for I neither have the power nor the strength to be in control of something like that.  And giving of your life by assigning a specific portion to God doesn’t seem possible since the definition of all that equates to life is multi-faceted.

So maybe the question should be worded: Is our life serving God?

-Rebecca Dix, MDiv student