The Rev. Joshua Rodriguez-Hobbs
But there is also a relief that comes when I hear those words. Remember that you are dust, and to dust shall you return. Remember, in other words, that there is a God, and that God is not you.
That is what Ash Wednesday is about, after all. At their roots, the many things that we have each come to repent of this day are the same. Sin, however we might define its particulars in our lives, is a denial that God is in control of my life. Pretending to have that sort of ultimate control that only belongs to God is a way of making an idol out of myself. That is what sin is: usurping the place that properly belongs to God. That is what the serpent told Adam and Eve in the Garden: Eat of the fruit of the tree of which God has commanded you not to eat, and you will be like God.
The first step is admitting that I have a problem. Paradoxically, it is only in doing so that I will ever be free, free to be the child of God that I was created to be.
God is God, and I am not. Ash Wednesday is a hard day for us, but it is also, as St. Paul says, the day of our salvation. Because today, this one day out of all 365, I am called to be honest with myself, with all of you, and with God. I need that honesty, because it is only in admitting that I am not in control, in admitting that I need a savior, that I create the space in my heart for the Holy Spirit to come in and renew in me the joy of my salvation. The first step is always admitting that you have a problem.