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Dust To Dust: Ash Wednesday Reminds Us Of Our Mortality


“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Millions of Christians across the globe are reflecting on their mortality and what it means to be human this Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday — observed by Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans and many other western Christian traditions — marks the start of Lent, a period of repentance, fasting and prayer leading to Easter.

As an expression of faith, some churches mark the foreheads of worshipers with an ash cross.

“It’s about remembering our mortality, the shortness of life and those ways to make our lives better in the limited time we have,” said the Rev. Matthew Buterbaugh, of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Kenosha, Wis. “The ashes are a memento mori, a remembrance death.”

The ashes are made from palm branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday service and oils. In addition to dozens of men and women, Buterbaugh said he “ashed” two babies Wednesday morning.

“It’s sobering,” Buterbaugh said. “It’s always interesting doing it to babies. Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Even little ones are going to live a life that’s finite.”

– Image courtesy WikiMedia Commons