What happens to the ashes?
I have not really considered ashes. At this time, the whole state of Texas is lit up with wild fires. My son-in-love is a career firefighter, and he is called to go and deal with fires. I have seen him come home from work covered in ash and soot. I look at him, and am so thankful that while he is doing what he loves to do, I do not have to deal with the smudges. I do not have to worry about how to get the ashes out of the clothes. The smell of the fire reminds me how grateful I am for the work that he does. I am thankful that he is safe. I am thankful that he has saved lives.
With the wildfires that are ablaze in my state, the ash is in the air, and it is affecting the sinus cavities, throats, and souls of those who are in those areas. The ash and soot are bothersome and it is a reminder of the loss of homes and dreams that are experienced.
Growing up, I remember a family in my neighborhood who would on purpose burn their yard every spring. We would drive by, and see the ugliness of that crispy lawn, and wonder at their sanity. However, not too many days later, this family had the most beautifully green, luxurious lawn in the county. Why? Because they burned it. In the burning, the nutrients are released and returned to the soil. This sets the lawn up for renewed growth that is the envy of the neighborhood.
We all have ashes in our lives. We have dreams and hopes that have crashed and burned. We can all look over our shoulders and view the ash heaps of our dumb ass moments. In the words of my friend, Mike, we would give everything we have for a ‘do over.’ We see the missed opportunities, the squandered resources, the shattered wreckage of ‘what could have been.’
Maybe we have ashes of things that we have willingly sacrificed because we felt that God was calling us to a higher place. We felt that we had to leave behind those things ‘that so easily beset us,’ only to look back with longing at the ash heap.
In my reading today, I noticed something that I had not noticed before. In looking at the priestly duties, in addition to performing all the rituals of the Temple, they also had to cleanse the altar of the ashes from the burnt offerings.
Jesus is our High Priest. We can trust Him to take care of our ashes. The cleansing (purifying) releases resources for renewal. The ashes are not just tossed into the trash, they are the raw material for future glory. As we look back at the ash heaps in our lives, lets not look at the ruin of hopes, dreams, opportunities. Instead, we can focus on the renewal.
Until next time,