The Ashes


The dust of memory.

Right and wrong. Good and evil. Wrongdoers and righteous people. The struggle between wrongdoers and righteous people.

Images of right and wrong. The biographical reality of evil. Baggage. The relation between wrongdoing and existence. In a world where the mean and the vulgar flourish.

Evil. Lent was all about the focus on evil. In the world. In my life. Lingering regret, lasting regret about the past. My own degree of evil. With selfish worries, about where the market is gonna end up? Where they all end up? Power, domination and possessions.

Lingering regret, lasting regret about the past was the problem of history. The challenge to advancement, with lingering memory. With a history.

I have a friend who once carried the title of vice president of institutional advancement, before he advanced himself to run the whole university –a different one – himself.

Spirituality’s impediment. Evil. Forgiveness. Advancement with forgiveness. Ritual sacrifice and holocaust. Reconciliation, through communal and institutional advancement.

The tensions in society. Between liberals and conservatives. Among prodigal sons and the ones left behind. Between men and women. Or just the tensions in God. Between religions. Between the sexes. Looking for unity, and the quest to be God-like. One God. Three in One, if you were Christian. The tension in the struggle between wrongdoers and righteous people.

In the context of the times. The search for God. And God’s search for man/woman. This search for God over and over. The search for meaning, in each other. In relationship. In institutional advancement. In the ashes of relationships, with the serial failure.

It can be a phony world. Of phony relationships. With phony politics. Propelled by money. With a lot of artificial love. And evil.

And so Lent begins, in the context of these times, with these readings on the 1st Sunday in Lent.

“…And when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him: “ If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” ….and then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.

The devil said to him: “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.”

Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “ If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written:He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” And Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”


And so Lent begins, with these readings. In a sense the readings on Good Friday were about the same temptation, of power, of domination, and of possessions. Over the identity of the Messiah. Over my own identity. After three years of public ministry. After teaching his followers to pray, “Deliver us from evil.” And so Lent beings in the context of these times, with people ‘giving things up’ which might relate to the same temptation of power, domination and possessions, to establish some connection to a personal identity to Jesus of Nazareth, if he was believed to be the Messiah and made a difference in personal identity. In the context of these times.

In the context of these times, to have your own identity “marked” in some way. “If” you were, “If” I was a son, a daughter of God. The challenge of Lent was always about identity. And it included the doubt. Lent was about images of right and wrong. About the delivery from evil. And that means of delivery.

Note the reading today where Jesus instructed the devil not to put him to the test. Ironically, it would be in 6 weeks that God would put Jesus to the test. Over this identity of the Messiah. And what this “marked” identity, so publicly, meant in the real world. When he also was led to Jerusalem. God, who had destroyed the world and saved only Noah. God, who in a sense destroys Himself, this time through His son. Yes, through the Messiah. To prove a point. Yes, “remember man that thou art dust, and unto dust though shall return.”

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….and so institutional advancement. “The story begins with Creation which, as we have seen, is the story of the acts of distinguishing one thing from another. It ends by alluding to the most crucial distinction of all …..”

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1 comment so far

  1. paperlessworld on

    ….and so institutional advancement. “The story begins with Creation which, as we have seen, is the story of the acts of distinguishing one thing from another. It ends by alluding to the most crucial distinction of all …..”

    一個網上避靜(退修)的旅程
    一個在平日生活中進行的三十四周避靜(退修)旅程
    美國內布拉斯加州奧馬哈克雷頓大學網上事工


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