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You are But Dust, and to Dust you Shall Return

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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

As Western. Culture becomes more and more secular to use. Charles Taylor's fascinating were disenchanted traditions and practices. That were once largely normal. Now seem more and more strange. Large Families Choosing Church over little league. Foreheads these things just aren't as normal as they used to be and the second glances and raised eyebrows. They create reveal more than just a confusion about the thing itself. In fact I'm not sure. There's a Christian observance more directly in collision with the widely accepted values of secularism than the imposition of the ashes. A tradition that goes back about ten centuries and which marks the beginning of the season of lent on the Church. Calendar like advent. The season of lent is about preparation before Christmas are Christian forebears thought it wise to prepare a bit and by diving deeply into Old Testament promises and prophecies that we'd better understand the birth of Christ in the full context of redemptive history and so two in lent are Christian forebears. Thought it wise that we should prepare for holy week especially for celebrating to resurrection on Easter Sunday. Now key distinction is that lent and disciplines beginning with Ash Wednesdays reminder that you're but dust and to dust you shall return place our celebration of Resurrection in the context of our humanity both our mortality and our fallen nece even if the Church calendar and its accompanying disciplines is not part of your church tradition. Those two aspects of our humanity deserve our focused intentional and extended reflection of course most Christians would quickly reply of course in death affect us all post Eden. The problem is that in our secular culture these beliefs that are crucial to a Christian worldview can be subtly secularized in our own hearts and minds years ago when my grandfather was dying he suffered terribly for three or four months and saw. I asked my pastor. Why doesn't God just take him now? Expected him to say something along the lines of well you know God has his ways in his own timing but instead he said something. I'll never forget because your grandfather needs to know his mortality before he meets his maker. See what Ponts de Leon once sought in the waters of a fountain of Youth. We still seek today via genetic engineering eugenics or some other technology and other words we seek control over this world and even over death itself despite our search death remains the universal problem of our human condition. One that afflicts us all a secular cultures led by the reality of death feared death itself so that we either attempt to control death or distract ourselves from the thought of it. As a result we learn to live life in light of a moment rather than eternity the reality of death should instead remind us to fear God that after death we will meet the maker of life. That's something worth pondering. Not just at the moment of death but constantly throughout our lives the login Craig warned in his book the way of the modern world that many of us who believe in God lives if God were largely irrelevant to most of life the reminder of our mortality in the words you're but dust into dust you shall return. That's a wonderful antidote for what he called practical atheism just like with the idea of mortality. Our understanding ever own sinfulness is also under threat of being secularized in our own minds living in a culture committed in the name of freedom to removing categories. Like sin or guilt and one. Quick to give away nearly universal. Get Out of jail free cards in the name of sexual freedom to many Christians lose any appearance for that which ought to shock and shame us. Perhaps that's why the salvation. That's brought to us in Christ's life death and resurrection as so often described as a quote wonderful example of love and sacrifice or how to get purpose and perspective in your life but so rarely described the terms of judicial forgiveness and cosmic victory that Pau Peter Jesus himself so often used being confronted with her own sinfulness certainly no fun but God graciously does after all the cruelest thing. We can tell someone who's not okay. As that they are has both are secularized. Culture in our secularized churches too often do repentance is a gift. It's the only way forward for those on the edge of the moral abyss and it's proof that God is kind as scripture say. Unfortunately we just don't hear these things often enough so thank God for lent