in the dust

My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.

The psalm of these lines, while certainly expressing something of what the psalmist or others in their day went through, is fulfilled in scripture plainly through our Lord’s suffering. Note its  opening lines:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Death is ordinarily not something we look at in the face. In fact in our culture it is well hidden until it forces its way into the open. But at the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, it’s at the heart of the ceremony. The priest or pastor smears ashes on the forehead of the participants as a sign of both their mortality and repentance.

Lent is a time of looking forward to the climax of the Christian calendar in our Lord’s death and resurrection. During the forty days leading to Easter Sunday, we even embrace something of death, knowing that for us through our Lord, it is the way to life. By faith and baptism we are taken into Jesus’ death and thus brought through into his resurrection life.

During the season of Lent the ceremony lends itself to living in something of this death in order that we may live in something of the fullness of this life in and through Jesus our Lord. Lent underscores what is to be a way of life to us in Jesus.

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

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