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You Are Dust

Last September my uncle Dennis passed away. It came as a shock because I had visited him just a few months before then and he seemed fine. I wanted to visit him because it had been years since I had seen him or heard from him.

When my aunt and him divorced I never stopped seeing him as family. He had celebrated too many birthdays, thanksgivings and Christmases with us to be forgotten. He had earned his place in the family, he was loved.

The day we met, my cousin and I met him at an IHOP. I could see sadness in his eyes. I talked about it with my cousin Geo after. We figured it was sadness because he was not part of the family anymore. Or maybe sadness that none of his marriages worked out, or possibly sadness that he was alone. Maybe it was a bit of it all.

When word came that he had passed, we learned that he had died of cancer. He had told no one. Then it hit me like a freight train: He was sad because he knew this was the last time he would see us, and us him. I thought it was a “see ya”, or “see you later” or “see you at my wedding.”

But it wasn’t.

This was his last goodbye.

That lunch my cousin and I had with him at the IHOP will forever be my last memory of him:

Thin arms,

big beer belly,

bald head,

wrinkles on his face,

and a stench of cigarette smoke.

Had I known it was the last time I would see him I would have said so much more. I would have spoken less about me and more about him. I would have... I could have... I should have.... There are some of the worst word combinations we could say. They are always filled with regret. He is gone now and all my coulda, woulda, shoulda's make no difference now. Moreover, just as quickly as he passed away, so could I.

“You are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19).

With these words, God gave his prognosis. Like a doctor revealing to an ill patient that he/she is terminal.

This is the bad news.

You will die.

You are dust.

If you were to die today, is there anything that you would have left unfinished? What are those you things you have been pushing aside? Are there people that you need to forgive? Are there people you need to reconcile with? Are their broken relationships you need to mend? Is there resentment in your heart that you need to let go off? Is there family, or friends you must seek? Are there things you want to do but have never had the guts to do?

A better question is: what do you need to repent of?

We all have those things that need repenting. Repentig literally means to "turn around." Repentence is not saying your sorry to God because you are afraid of some sort of judgment. Repentence is an awknoledgment that you have done something evil. It is an aknoledgement that that evil thing is actually evil. It is remorse for doing that evil thing because by doing that thing you have strayed away from God. Repentance is turning away from that evil thing and coming back to God. "What we do not overcome, will overcome us and work out our destruction." (SC pg.33)

What better time to stop, turn around and face those things we have been trying to outrun than now?

For it is written:

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)

You are disappearing therefore what you do with you flesh and blood matters.

Make this momet count: Repent.

“You are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19). -Pr.Alex NOTE to Reader: In the ancient church, Lent was a time for new converts to be instructed for baptism and for believers caught in sin to focus on repentance. In time, Ash Wednesday became a time of repentance, of considering Christ’s sufferings and rethinking how we are called to take up our own crosses before Lent. And in time Lent came to be known as a season to be reminded of our need for penitence and to prepare spiritually for the celebration of Easter. Traditionally people give something up during lent and/or begin to do a new thing until Easter. Some give up televisiom, chocolate, secular music, bad words. Think of whatever you think is hinderig your relationship with God and give that thing up. By doing this you are by no means gaining God's favor. We can’t earn grace by doing extra things or by giving up certain other things in fasting. Lent is a time for you to grow in God's grace. I have personally chosen to give up television shows and complaining. May the peace of Christ be with you.

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