Blessed are the Fragile

Written by Stephanie Bowman, Associate Chaplain, Felician Village Mission Department

A few weeks ago we entered into the church season of Lent which begins with Ash Wednesday. For some Christian traditions, Ash Wednesday includes the imposition of ashes where the sign of the cross is marked with ashes on the forehead. I think the cross of ashes is an important reminder of our mortality in a world that places a high value on strength and durability. None of us like to feel fragile, and yet that is the reality of being human. In the creation story, God forms Adam from the dust of the ground. After Adam and Eve sin by taking the fruit they were told not to, God reminds them, “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” We all feel our human fragility, some days more than others. We get sick, we experience pain and suffering, we feel grief, sorrow, sadness, and regret. All of these things are a reminder of our humanity and our fragility. Yet, just as God formed Adam from the dust and breathed the breath of life into him, God blesses us in our fragility and humanity. God is at work in us, bringing beautiful things from the dust we are made from. That cross of ashes says that yes, we are dust, but God blesses that dust. As we continue on our Lenten journey this year, I want to leave you with an excerpt from a blessing by Jan Richardson called, “Blessing the Dust.”

So let us be marked not for sorrow
And let us be marked not for shame
Let us be marked not for false humility or for thinking we are less than we are
But for claiming what God can do within the dust,
Within the dirt, within the stuff of which the world is made…

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