Ash Wednesday

by Terry Rogers

H

ere we are in Lent, when we are told, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Flowers come off the altar, and the green vestments, green as grass and leaves, are put away.

Yet I am thinking about gardens. Isaiah promises that if we fast from what we have obtained unjustly, if we share what we have with those who have not, if we defend the oppressed, we will be like a watered garden.

The garden of Eden, where God created us from the dust of the earth.

The gardens in the Song of Songs, where lovers delight in each other’s beauty.

The Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus says Yes to his Father.

The garden where he is buried, and where the women see him risen in joy and wonder, where Mary Magdalene thinks he’s the gardener.

All this dust, all our dust, is the ground from which salvation grows.

artwork for Ash Wednesday and days following