Am I Celebrating Life or Death?


On Ash Wednesday, you may have made plans to drop by church to have ashes imposed on your forehead. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Are we celebrating death? Isn’t Christianity a religion of life?

Perhaps Ash Wednesday is a great dialogue between life and death.

Ash Wednesday, 2018, Rev. Karyn Richards-Kuan imposes ashes

Ash Wednesday, 2018, Rev. Karyn Richards-Kuan imposes ashes

Many years ago a professor of worship died suddenly in her office at a seminary. A note found on her desk read “what if we taught everybody that their baptism was preparation for death?” These were her parting blows. Her last stab at attending to the mystery of faith. Baptism, that symbol of rebirth, the water symbolizing a spiritual birth canal out from which God births us and begins the initial work of mothering. That symbol, is about death? And not in a “fingers crossed that this will stick and I get to go to heaven!” kinda way. But maybe because a good death only happens when we live a good life.

How do we live a good life?

Death has been called “the great sleep?” What if this Ash Wednesday (and Lent, the season that Ash Wednesday kicks off) we remembered to sleep? What if we took rest and sabbath and made it real in the world? What if our remembrance of our death led us to living our life in a more human way?

Let’s take this lent slow. Let’s sleep. Burned out? Anxious? Want to explore rest with others? Check out this little, tiny, short survey!