{RE:} Return to Dust

Thursday: Return to Dust

For the first few days of this week, we have been talking about actively choosing to "return" to God in different ways. But today we are going to think about returning in a slightly different way. As we read, reflect, and respond today we will be thinking about what it means that one day we will "return" to the dust.


"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."
Genesis 3:19

"Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, 'I have no pleasure in them,' ... when the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, all is vanity."
Ecclesiastes 12: 1, 7-8


These passages echo one another, reminding us of the brevity of our lives and our own bodily limits. Taking time to consider our own humanity, the frailty of our lives, offers us some really valuable perspective. Have you ever heard someone say that a loved one's untimely death caused them to reconsider petty differences, fractured relationships, time spent with friends, etc? Taking time to consider how limited our lives are give us the opportunity to consider what is really important.

"Remember, you are dust..."
  • Is it difficult for you to admit that you have limits? Consider how that might keep you from fully relying on or trusting God.
  • What things make you feel particularly "dusty"? That is, what things in your life are the biggest reminders of your humanity, limits, brokenness, frailty, etc?

Lent is an opportunity to "go back in order to move forward." It's a chance to remember our "dusty-ness" and our reliance on God, so that we are moved to repentance, and prepared to walk into the new things that God has for us.

"...And to dust you will return."
  • I don't want you to be fearful or obsessed with your own mortality, but take some time to reflect on it this morning. Consider what things in your life have "eternal significance" and what "moths and rust will destroy."

Ultimately, remembering that we were made from dust and will one day return to it, points us to the redeeming work of Christ. A few months ago, we celebrated Jesus becoming human and living a human life at Christmas. Despite our frail human limits, in Christ's human death and bodily resurrection, we are offered a way to be made new creations.


O Lord our God, under the shadow of Thy wings let us hope.
Thou wilt support us, both when little, and even to gray hairs.
When our strength is of Thee, it is strength; but, when our own, it is feebleness.
We return unto Thee, O Lord, that from their weariness
our souls may rise towards Thee,
leaning on the things which Thou hast created,
and passing on to Thyself, who hast wonderfully made them;
for with Thee is refreshment and true strength. Amen.


Nikki Wood - March 10th, 2022 at 4:36am

When I let my fear become stronger than my faith and I try to control everything so I can limit the chances of something “not good” happening in my life is when I feel my humanity and brokenness the most, because it is there I feel the farthest from God because I am leaning onto myself the most and it’s when I feel the most alone and unsafe. I am creating the opposite of what I desire. When I take a breath and be still and let my faith be stronger than my fear and give it to God and trust Him, is when I feel the most safe and my fears disappear. Trusting in God is what truly sets me free, He is my true strength! ♥️

David Edelstein - March 10th, 2022 at 5:18am

My viewpoint of others compared to God's is so limited.Lord, open my eyes to see others as you see them.

Nick Tebordo - March 10th, 2022 at 5:36am

It is interesting that this is our topic today. I realize that I am getting older-closer to returning to the dust. We are being asked to take Ezekiel which means a change in our lifestyle if he indeed does come. Of course, we will give it a try if that is what Ezekiel wants. I was looking forward to a bit of a relaxed lifestyle with lots of travel. There is no question that we will be there for our grandson, but it is a bit of an adjustment. Praying!

Susan blais - March 10th, 2022 at 5:39am

I was introduced to my “Dusty – Ness“ when my mother passed away at the age of 55. Within the next year I was on dialysis for the same disease that took my mother’s life. I was re-introduced again when my son was diagnosed and had the genetic testing to find out that it was Alport syndrome which was affecting our entire lives. And again, when my granddaughter was born with the same disease. The effect that it had on me was to draw me closer to God. However, it has not had the same effect on my son and granddaughter to this date. My prayer is that it will eventually draw my son and granddaughter closer to God as well. I know that every day is a precious gift from GodAnd that I must spend each day wisely and drying closer to my God.

Melody - March 10th, 2022 at 6:50am

"When our strength is of thee, it is strength, but when our own, it is feebleness."

I love these words of Augustine. My entire life I've always had more than average energy and physical strength, in spite of not being in good shape for most of it. But since 45 and especially since 50 there have been more areas of weakness, and it causes me to take a break sometimes.

I'm not sure this is a bad thing. God's strength is my strength, my strength is limited. This is a new concept he's helping me to embrace.

Linda Comstock - March 10th, 2022 at 7:27am

Ecc. 12:1...Don't let the excitement of your youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor Him in your youth before you grow old and say, "life is not pleasant anymore" . Then the next 6 verses reminds us to "REMEMBER HIM". I have to say being 70 isn't always pleasant health wise due to fibro, chronic fatigue and Arenal fatigue, however I look at it as my "thorn in my side" to keep my focuse on God.

Praying for you Pastor Nick and Bert regarding Ezekiel coming to live with you.

Janet Nygren - March 10th, 2022 at 7:19am

I've been reflecting all week on the image from the Ash Wednesday service of "Rooted" in relation to dust. It is so hope-giving! As dust we are so scattered and limited, yet being rooted is so life-giving in so many ways: being gathered to a place instead of scattered, being transformed as we absorb life-giving water, clinging to the root that produces life, partnering with that root to be part of a life-giving process, having community in the midst of the rest of the dust as we cling together to the root. As Kaitlyn says above, "It's a chance to remember our "dusty-ness" and our reliance on God, so that we are moved to repentance, and prepared to walk into the new things that God has for us." I love metaphors!




no categories