Beloved: Here is the Dust

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So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

These past few months, I have wrestled with seasons of anxiety, hope and lament. Quite often, the journey has felt long and sometimes lonely as I struggle to make new community and to lean deeply into the call which God has placed on my heart.
Journeys are like that sometimes.
Perhaps, you’ve experienced something similar.
Living in the desert, I have begun to experience the Lenten text in new ways. On weekends when I hike, I am drawn back to concepts of dust and the vast expanse of the desert. Home to many sacred lands, Arizona boasts of brilliant red rock, sand, cacti and unforgiving heat. For many here, the dust is both ancestral, holy and wild. There is life in the dust. 
There is familiarity in the dust. There is holiness in the dust. And, there is death.
A border town, Arizona’s dust and sandy dirt experiences the footsteps of many journey makers, asylum seekers and warm-sun seekers. For Arizonians, ours is the ancient wild in between. Ours is the desolate, awe-inspiring wilderness and the sacred solitude. For here is the dust of the worn and weary. Here is the dust of wild spaces. Here is the dust of holy journey makers. Here is the dust.
In preparation for Lent, I discovered the most delightful and hopeful website called The Painted Prayer Book by Jan Richardson. An excerpt from her poem, “Blessing the Dust” particularly evokes the holy wild power of God:
All those days/you felt like dust/like dirt/as if all you had to do/was turn your face/toward the wind
and be scattered/to the four corners/or swept away/by the smallest breath/as insubstantial—
did you not know/what the Holy One/can do with dust?
There is dust that can transform.
Perhaps, you’ve experienced something similar.
In the next few weeks, my journey will take me to a local makeshift ‘hotel’ for asylum seekers. I carry this image of dust with me. I carry the hope for transformation and for God and I name that there is holiness here. In the dust. In the shelters. In the journey.
There are change agents, prophets and peace seekers here in this dust. And there is loneliness and fear in the dust.
For those whom can shield the other, let us use our bodies for love. Let us use our hands to extend the tables and to wash the dust from off one another’s feet.
Let us use what we have, beloved.
Here is the dust.
Shalom always. 

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