With one thumb they draw the dark line of ash down and say, “Remember from ashes you have come.”
And with the same thumb they draw a dark line of ash across and say, “And to ashes you shall return.”
Because really, any way you look at it, up, down, left, right, horizontal or vertical, I was nothing and will be nothing.
But then all that ash that’s condemning me to miserable remembrance ends up being a cross on my forehead. Because there is one place where I am something, at the cross.
I came from nothing, receive eternal life, and return to nothing.
Jesus came from heaven and the beginning of creation, found condemnation and death, and returned to heaven at God’s right hand.
What a beautiful mystery is the interchanged middles of those two stories.
And what could be simpler than one line across another, touching each other at one point?
But some of the most beautiful things are simple.