Let The Ashes Remind Us Of The Flame

Don’t let the ashes deceive you. They are not a sign of death. On the contrary, they are evidence—absolute proof—of life.

So let the ashes remind us of the flame.

Just as the empty tree limbs of winter somehow testify to the budding leaves of spring. Ashes are evidence of life in the same way that the moon reflects the light of a sun we cannot see. The way starlight travels billions of miles to reach our eyes even though the star itself ceased to exist so long ago that our mind cannot grasp the timeline of its demise. The star is gone but its light remains, moving toward whomever might be standing in the darkness looking skyward to see what parable the night might whisper in their ears.

So let the ashes remind us of the flame.

Ashes are signs of life in the same way that rain is able to tattoo sidewalks with the perfect outline of leaves that once lay there but have been blown away by the wind.

The way ripples sweep out across the surface of a pond when the small child skips the smooth pebble across the water after his grandfather shows him how.

A final splash and the stone is gone, but its ripples go on and on.

The same way the ripples of those we love and who have loved us continue widening out to every corner of our heart and soul after they have gone from this world.

They are gone, like Jesus is gone. But they remain, like Jesus remains.

So let the ashes remind us of the flame.

In the course of our lifetime we will be like that sidewalk, with only the rain-soaked imprint of someone we dearly miss left behind. We will be like the moon, reflecting the light of a loved one we can no longer see. We will be like the water’s surface, someone’s voice and smile still skipping and rippling through our lives even though they are gone.

But, in time, we will also become the image of a leaf the wind has swept away, the reflection of a light no longer seen and the stone that has disappeared beneath the surface.

We will become that trail of smoke in the sky that others will believe they cannot follow. A trail of smoke that leaves them standing alone, just as we have been left standing alone. But they, too, will follow that trail one day. A trail through the sky that Jesus blazed for us, marking the way with his life. Marking the way with his death. Marking the way with his resurrection.

Footsteps in the sand are washed away by the tides. Footprints in the snow melt in the sun. Indentations of bare feet in green grass are seen but for a short while. Nevertheless, they tell the truth. Like ashes, they are signs of life. Signs of soul marks no tide can wash away, no sun can melt and no wind can sweep out of sight.

Life’s rain will fall, its winds will blow. But that is all they can do.

Let us go out into the world with the proof of everlasting life marked upon our forehead.

Let the ashes remind us of the flame.

5 thoughts on “Let The Ashes Remind Us Of The Flame

  1. Sometimes I feel like I am in danger of drowning in ashes. So many loses-people, jobs, relationships. I really needed the reminder to remember the flames- all the warmth and light, the comfort and joy, the love that burned so brightly. Thanks!


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