I had an unfortunate opportunity to reflect on mortality this summer when my friend Christina Mandang was hit by a car. Her sudden and senseless death at the age of 38 reminded me once again how fleeting our lives are. It is truly ashes to ashes and dust to dust, with precious little time in between. The good news is that the God who breathed life into dust to create Adam and who resurrected Jesus from the grave, is the same God who has promised to raise us from death to eternal life. Now that’s Good News!
When Christina died I was reflecting on all this and a short refrain came to me, “from the dust you shall raise us up.” I sang it to myself as I mourned her death, wrote it down, and it has remained in my idea folder ever since. Ash Wednesday gave me another chance to consider all these life and death issues, and I revisited that short refrain. I decided to pair it with the words of Psalm 103 in which God, the loving Father, “remembers we are dust.” This was an especially appropriate image, because my friend Janice had just lost her father, Frank Diehl.