A Flower Sprouted From That Ash

Letters from a Pastor to His People- April 5, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Do you remember what we heard nearly six weeks ago? 

Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.

My God Ash Wednesday seems like an eternity ago.  The church was packed, people were coming in and out of the office and parish center, and the school and other groups were humming along.

And then the Coronavirus hit.

The whole point of remembering that we are dust is to help us eliminate any sense of self-reliance.  We need God.  Even if we are rich, powerful and successful on this earth, we will be dust one day.  We must turn to and rely on God.  He is our salvation.

An invisible microbe closed our churches, brought our economy to a standstill, and completely disrupted our normal way of life, not to mention send many souls to their maker.

Yes, we are dust. 

And that is okay.  In fact, it is good to be dust.

Jesus was dust in the eyes of many.  Pontius Pilate, a powerful Roman procurator, saw this silent Jew as dust.  Herod, the rich "king" of Israel, saw the pathetic Nazorean as dust.  Caiaphas and the rest of the Sanhedrin and Jewish rabble saw the upstart as dust. 

Jesus was dust in their eyes and able to be crushed.

And Christ was crushed.  Or, rather, he was crucified. 

That dust—that ash—proceeded then to be planted into the earth.  And the earth was given new life.  A flower sprouted from that ash.

That flower still remains standing.  It has never died.  Yes, it may lose petals from time to time.  It may wilt.  Snow may cover it and people may walk by it without noticing it.  They may take it for granted, but it is remains. The beauty of the flower will emanate again.

We have been brought low.  We have died, in a way.  But each of us--dust that we are--has been planted in the earth.  We will rise and together form the beautiful garden in God's new paradise.

As I mentioned last week, I am going to avoid in this bulletin letter providing any updates regarding the status of the church with the Coronavirus situation.  As you know, things change daily (even by the hour!), and so whatever I write for this bulletin will be outdated by the time you read it.  In fact, I submitted this letter several weeks ago due to an early submission deadline with our bulletin contractor.  I encourage you to check the parish website and the parish Facebook page for updates.  We are also sending out e-blasts with information, so be sure also to check your email.

Stay safe and healthy and, again, a blessed Palm Sunday and Holy Week to you all.

 

Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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