Heaven is declaring God’s glory;
the sky is proclaiming his handiwork.
One day gushes the news to the next,
and one night informs another what needs to be known.
Of course, there’s no speech, no words—
their voices can’t be heard—
but their sound extends throughout the world;
their words reach the ends of the earth.
Whether the story of God meeting the Israelites or the Transfiguration of Jesus, all of Creation proclaims the handiwork of God. While we look at Psalm 19 (or Psalm 148) and see the work of God celebrating God, there is quite a dark side to it. The bittersweet truth is that all the Creation that praises God today will die.
Part of Ash Wednesday includes, “From dust you came and to dust you return,” from Genesis 3:19. It also includes a small phrase spoken during many graveside funerals, “Ashes to ashes; dust to dust.” Our mortality is central to Lent, because sin is what led to death, and sin was what Jesus’ death on the cross was to absolve.
Sin leads to the death of Creation. Yes, Revelation expresses the concept of a new Heaven and a new Earth. New, however, indicates that the old is gone. The “old” Creation (the one in which we live) will go away.
From an absolute sense, this isn’t a bad thing. No one in their right mind would want to bring into something new all the tattered, worn out, bloody, hateful stuff into something beautifully new. It’s good that the old will be gone.
This long view of hope is unusual for the world. It is needed by the world. It is easy to conclude that much of the angst and anxiety of the world is that it does not have the hope that looks beyond the now and dying. The world knows it’s dying.
Scripture has humanity starting as dust. Why is it important to humanity’s humility to understand that, regardless of what science might say different?
You are the Lord of Life, Jesus. Help us to keep that in mind while we recall that we are dust. Amen.