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Remember you are dust

Start of Lent - Ash Wednesday

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Genesis 3.19
By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.


We begin Lent by looking back to the first book of the Bible, and the very first failure. We know the story: Adam and Eve disobey God and they eat the fruit that they have been told not to touch.

As a result, they are cast out of the Garden of Eden, condemned to suffering and death.

Fast forward to today, Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. As the ash is placed on our foreheads in the shape of the cross, those words from Genesis are spoken: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” It is a day to lament our disconnectedness from God. It begins a time where we consider those failures in our own lives which separate us from God today.

But the sign of the cross reminds us that in Jesus, our failure is overcome by God’s glory. God himself comes to make up the distance we put between him and us.


We all fail, in ways big or small, every day. That’s part of being human.

Ask yourself honestly where you’ve stepped away from God recently.

Today's family challenge

Make or draw a simple cross

We traditionally begin Lent today by having a cross of ash marked on our foreheads. Make (or find) a cross to help you remember we are journeying towards Easter, or find a church near you offering this.
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The reflections are taken from the booklet Dust and Glory: A Lent journey of faith, failure and forgiveness <link to follow>, which is published by Church House Publishing and copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2023 and used here with permission. They are based on Failure: What Jesus said about sin, mistakes and messing stuff up, The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2023, written by Bishop Emma Ineson and published by SPCK, which is copyright © 2022 Emma Ineson and used here with permission. 
Except where otherwise specified, Bible readings are taken from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright © 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. All rights reserved.

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