Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ODD (02/20/20)
TITLE: Earth Bound, Earth Bond
By Lynda Schultz
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
This familiar phrase sometimes haunts us: “Dust to dust, ashes to ashes…” The thud of dirt striking the lid of a coffin signals an irrevocable end. We hear the sound, but most often are unable to embrace its meaning. Grief blocks out every other consideration.
It has become a custom in some parts of the world to avoid the more earthy parts of the process that loosen our grip on things temporal.
At my father’s burial, the casket was not lowered into the grave until everyone had left the cemetery. Too emotional at the time, I didn’t think to ask why, though looking back I remember the funeral director being anxious to shoo us away. I guess he wanted to get on with the job. It was raining, and he and his staff fully exposed and somewhat damp.
When my mother died winter had already set in. The ground was frozen solid and the graveyard inaccessible because of the snow. The interment had to wait until Spring. I asked to be informed when the time came so that I could be present. However, the city chose to inform me after the fact. Then, less than impressed, I put it down to bureaucratic inefficiency.
But recently I discovered that some mental health professionals believe that it is too traumatic for survivors to see their loved ones lowered into the ground and covered in dirt. Personally, I’m not convinced that strategy is helpful. It changes nothing and prolongs the process of healthy grieving.
Are all these comments about death macabre? Hopefully not. For all of us death is inevitable—unless the Lord should return for us before that moment arrives. When we are young, we resist considering its irrevocable and undeniable claim on us. When we get older, denial isn’t so much of an option. As time passes, though we may not facilitate death’s arrival, we can actually await its coming with excitement. For believers in Jesus what awaits us beyond death’s portals is glorious. For us, that portal is a good thing.
God, who gave us breath, removes it, and our mortal bodies return to the earth from which that first human was formed.
That turns my mind back to the original question: Why did God change His pattern? Why did He speak everything into being but decide to form man from the dust of the earth, breathe life into him, and then make such a point of telling him that one day he would return to the dust from which he came?** It seems a strange thing to do. As Job eventually discovered, I wasn’t there nor does God owe me an explanation! But curiosity, that divinely given gift, beckons.
If you expect a definitive answer from me, nailed down and annotated, you can stop reading right now. I don’t have one of those. But I do have an idea—believe it or not, an ecological one. And no, I am NOT going to suggest that we are feeding the earth with our remains. That WOULD be macabre!
We talk about the legacy we might leave behind us in the people whose lives we’ve touched for good and for God. However, there is something both beautiful and humbling in the thought that God, who entrusted the rest of His creation to our care, has placed by way of this unexpected creative detour, a tiny reminder of the importance of our roles as caretakers. By making us from earth elements, and then returning the mortal part of us to that earth, He tells us that we have an unbreakable bond with every other part of God’s handiwork. We are different, but not separate from it. It is part of us, deserving to be cared for as we care for ourselves.
This thought becomes hugely important when we consider how well, or how poorly, we look after that from which we are inseparable.
For me, “dust to dust, and ashes to ashes” gives a whole new meaning to life and death, and demands a more focused perspective and commitment to the natural world of which I am a part. What God did, then, is not so strange after all, is it?
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.