The Work of the People

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Remember That You Are Dust

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Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return, so wait for deliverance. This reflection/poem is Inspired by the text from Ash Wednesday in the church calendar. Written by Phuc Luu, acting by Jeremy Wells, filmed by Josh Spires and music by Aural Method. 

Remember That You Are Dust

Sometimes only song can speak of the depths of our hearts. 
The psalms are ancient songs 
sung to string instruments—
these songs are our songs.
In the laments, we sense a pain 
and ache that calls out to all, 
deep cries to deep,
in a dark and familiar place, 
where few of us care to linger— 
that place of loneliness 
and sorrow 
and emptiness
without geography
or landscape
a place tuned in a minor key. 
Tone dark and somber,
dissonance, spaces between beats, 
measures strung out and notes hang their heads.

David dwelt here, accompanied only by guilt 
his hands stained in blood and treachery
he reached for what was not his to take—
Adam taking from the fruit 
tasting the sweetness of knowing good and evil, 
tasting the bitterness of lost innocence
and he saw his nakedness 
lovers who are now ashamed to see each other 
as they truly are—
and Adam came to realize that he was only man made from dust
and David came to know that he was only a shepherd boy made a king
they are made creatures
Adam from adama
humans from dust
to have a breath of life
poured into this fragile container.

But there is one who knew
the frailty of existence like no other,
the one who was God in flesh and bones—
there was no place he could retreat when pain pursued. 

He could no longer be everywhere, and do anything
now he was one of us, 
touching what we touch
feeling what we feel
being no where else but with us
Immanuel.

Last Thursday the dead palms in our front yard
were taken down,
they had died in our summer draught.
What were tall and noble,
were shedding their dead palm branches
and were easily fell.
I picked up their leaves to make ashes
and placed them on top of a brass bowl
and lit them,
a pyre for the remnants of palms.

Looking into the fire 
that embraced the leaves
I see myself
getting older and envying youth.
As each year slips my grasp
I ask myself what have I done in this world
what difference I have made
tracing the boundaries of my soul
a black silhouette 
that looks back at me.

And I slowly realize 
my existence, 
my being
my very breath 
is held together by hands and heart 
greater than what I can understand
or imagine
or hope for.

Like David,
I wait for deliverance
the longing for heaven
like Adam.
I wait for another chance to take,
a stroll with God through the garden
the breaking dawn in a new day.

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