A recent part of my liturgical journey has included getting tattoos that speak to my story and pilgrimage of faith. I especially discovered this when I had a conversation with my artist, Evan. As he was inking my arm with four birds, I asked him, “what exactly are you injecting into my skin?”
This was a question I likely should have asked earlier.
As he gently wiped away residue, he said to me, “the ink is organic. It’s carbon. Made of the same stuff you are.”
I nearly wept. I was unprepared for his pastoral response. I shared with him that I was a minister. I also told him he was, too. In that moment, Evan offered me a beatitude. A blessing. Yes, you are but carbon ink. Yes And, God makes beautiful art out of carbon.
Friends, to be reminded of our earthen nature is sobering yet laced in hope. It binds us to the creation and one another. And just as all of us are dust and to dust all of us will return, God makes beautiful things out of dust...and carbon ink...and all of us. On this Ash Wednesday, remember your dusty, ashen self is so very loved and good. May this word carry you for the 40 Days of Lent, too.