(Indonesia: Hari Rabu Abu)
We are HKBP as Lutheran never celebrates “Dust Day” or “Dust Wednesday”. But I do really interest in a celebration of Lutheran calendar which is called “Dust Day” and this celebration I experience when I was in Hong Kong. This celebration reminds me about the nature of human being who created by God form dust. So one day in one sermon in my Seminary in Indonesia I preach about this Dust Day to them. Here you are my sermon.
Genesis 3:19: “In the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread till you return to the ground for out of it you were taken; you are dust and to dust you shall return!” (NRSV)
Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,
When I read this text, I remember about one thing that I ever experienced in the past. It is about yearly church celebration in a Lutheran church which is called “Ash Day!” I think this celebration is never be done in our church HKBP. “Ash day” is a celebration to remember that human being is dust. Adam is from dust. In that celebration, as a symbol, they took dust and mixed with oil and then one by one, the congregation came forward and received the blessing from the Pastor while saying: “you are dust and to dust you shall return!” or “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return!” and marked a cross on the forehead of the congregation with the dusted oil. This celebration was so touching to me because, it teaches me about the nature of human being who were taken from dust and shall return into dust.
Today our text is from Genesis and the context about human being: Adam and Eve who have fallen into sin at Eden garden. God punished them! Since this period, there was no a close relationship between God and human being. But thanks to Almighty God for God’s mercy and the greatest love through Jesus Christ who died on the cross to reconcile human being and God and now we can feel how close we are with God. We can feel God’s love and caring. Yes it is Adam who fall into sin but is Jesus as the second Adam to sacrifice Himself as the highest offering to save us from dead and sin, to set us free and receive eternal life. It is only in Jesus Christ the second Adam.
“But remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return!”
There are some points that I want to share with you from this touching words:
- We remember the creation of human being in the beginning. Human being is created by God’s hands carefully and full of love. God created Adam and Eve from dust and it is the breath of God (Hebrew: “RUAKH”) that fills our dust body and alive in God and especially alive in Jesus love.
- We are human being have an unique body structure. God with the high art value shape us. We are created by God so let God’s will be done in our lives. So we must show the will of God in our daily activities.
- Remember Jesus as the second Adam who has set us free and without Jesus, we have no meaning, with Jesus we have everything or full of meaning.
- There is the end of life… “From Dust to Dust”. As we always heard from the Pastor in the funeral ceremony. We are dust but we are worthy because we are saved by Jesus so when we shall return into dust, we return to Jesus who has eternal life.
- There is freedom! Truly, this is the freedom from God. So be free to do the freewill of God. We must set others free, of course this freedom is free or gift without payment.
- We must work hard. In the past it is a punishment but now it means we are enabled to do these works hard because we are strengthen to work in our lives. To do the best because Jesus has done the best in our lives.
- We must humble ourselves before God and our neighbors because naturally we are same, we are dust in the beginning and return in the past in the end of our lives.
- Human being cannot separate with dust or ground, so let us care and keep this earth to be safe from pollution and destroying.
The last I want to say, you are dust and to dust you shall return, return into eternal life where Jesus is. Amen