Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A New Grave on Ash Wednesday

"for dust you are
and to dust you will return"
-- God

A new grave is being dug halfway up the mountain. I thought the dirty little graveyard, which we pass on the way up to the seminary, was abandoned. The dogs roam there, and trash is scattered among the round cement graves.

But this morning a well-dressed woman stood there alone, looking. She was dressed in black and white, the colors of mourning. And this afternoon, on my way down again, there was a pile of gravel, and fresh cement and brickwork. We humans like to make our graves as permanent as possible, don't we?

And here we Christians are, marked with a cross of ashes. Our liturgical practice insists on this annual gritty reminder: Death is our destiny, every one of us. And an equally gritty hope. That our cemeteries will in fact be abandoned. Not to trash and dogs, but because the resurrected have no need of etched granite markings.

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