Bishop Michael's 2016 Lenten Greeting

“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” The pastor speaks these words to us as they place the ashes on our head with the sign of the cross on Ash Wednesday. Lent begins with a stark
reminder that we are mortal and of the frailty and the fleeting nature of our lives.

It is good that we do this. All too often in this world we try to deny our own mortality. People accumulate money and things thinking that happiness will be found in stuff. We do that forgetting that we cannot take any of it with us. In the end all the things in this life, possessions, money, power, and our very selves are dust and to dust we shall all return.

I hope this realization brings us to wonder what does matter. If all the stuff and people of this world are passing away – what really matters? Jesus Christ shows us what really matters.

Jesus is Lord and God of all. He is the one who brought all life and light into being. When Jesus came into this world, he took nothing for himself. This is the Living God; yet when he became flesh and lived among us, he demanded none of the things the world usually considers of value. Instead, Jesus came into this world and gave himself away for the sake of all of us. Jesus deserves all glory, laud, and honor.

Instead of taking what the world had to offer, he poured himself out for the sake of this world. Jesus is our example. Jesus shows us what our lives should be about. We can’t take money, or power, or stuff with us. However, we can make our lives a blessing to others. We can use this God-given existence to reach out in the love of Christ to those who are hurting, in need, or hungry. Lent then, is an invitation to follow more deeply this Jesus.

We stand this season in the shadow of the cross and remember how much Jesus gave to save us from sin, death, and destruction. We learn that even though we are going to die, that because of what Jesus has done we have been given the doorway to life through him.

We who are dust without Christ are called to turn from those things that call us away from him, and to follow the one who is the way and the truth and our eternal life.

May God bless you in this season, and may you know the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In His most Holy Name, +Bishop Michael Rhyne