2/13/2023 Monday Morning Meditation


“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.”  John 1:5

“The Lord formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…” Genesis 2: 7

I have a crystal that hangs in my kitchen window.  The other day, it caught the light in a particular way and the light refracted into a vivid rainbow.  And in the light of that rainbow, dust danced.

I am sure you have seen the dust dance in particularly clear rays of light.  It is not an unusual thing though something about the moment often captures our attention.  For me, this time, the dust dancing in the light called me to the time we are in, the seasonal cycle for those of us who live in the church where light and ashes are about to converge.

Through the anticipation of Advent, the presence of God at Christmas and this season of Epiphany in which we see the manifestation of God in the world through the life of Jesus, the theme has been light, the light of God being born into the darkness of the world, the light of God present with us, the light of God walking among us in the form of Jesus, the light that comes to us so that we might in turn reflect God’s light to others. As we come to Transfiguration Sunday, the season of light culminates in the story of a walk up a mountain in which Jesus’ disciples see in the person of Jesus the full expression of the light of God.

And then, in that moment of pure light and exquisite purity, Jesus speaks of his death.  Dust.  Ash.  The things of earth are revealed dancing in the light of Christ.  I’ve been pondering this, the juxtaposition of human and divine, of light and dark, of life and death, of earth and heaven.  We tend to think of these things as opposites, opponents, a choice to be made, a positive and a negative expression of our understanding of our lives.  But Jesus seems to reveal something different.  He tells the disciples to tell no one about this experience until “the Son of Mon had risen from the dead”, leaving the disciples, like me, pondering. Mark’s gospel in particular says that the disciples were left “questioning what rising from the dead could mean”.  Dust particles dancing in the light.

This week, we have seen vividly the power of dust and ashes as we have watched those devasted by the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey.  It is not the only place this is happening but it is certainly the one of which we are presently most aware.  Dust and ash have crushed lives.  And as vast as that devastation is, we too know or can imagine what it feels like to lose homes, loved ones, livelihoods.  These are the things of our created world, a world created by God from the dust, things we hold dear and preciousbut which in themselves are not eternal.  In our world, the ash can overcome us.  Things can be lost.  People will die. Our grief can be unbearable, the devastation bigger than our ability to see beyond.

And I remember what Jesus said to his disciples–“Until the Son of Man has risen from the dead”.  In that moment of revealing the pure light of God, he did not say he would not die.  And he did not say life, even his life, would be easy.  He and we are people of the earth.  He and we are made of dust.  He and we will be crushed.  We will return to dust.  But that is not the whole story of God’s creation. Because by grace we are also those on whom the light of Christ has shined.  And in that light, things are transformed.  The time will come for rising even from death.  In the light of Christ, the dust will dance.

I hope you will continue pondering this thought with me as we prepare to transition from Epiphany to Lent.  And I pray for light to shine for those in Syria and Turkey and all places where lives feel crushed.  May the time come when the dust will dance in Christ’s light.