Ash Wednesday: Diamonds

My husband wants to be turned into a diamond when he dies. That’s what he said. It used to be that you were placed in a casket and buried six feet beneath the earth. But there are now lots of choices. You can be cremated. You can be planted as a tree. And you can, apparently, become a diamond. The jury is still out on this one for me.

Three years ago, my father-in-law died. Rob and his brother were executors and they took responsibility for most of the funeral details. Fortunately, Rob’s dad had pre-planned his funeral and selected the casket. Rob came home in disbelief at how expensive it is to be buried. However, you can now buy caskets at Costco – FYI. But that was when he decided to be cremated. Then, our daughter, Rebecca, exclaimed that he could be turned into a diamond and promised to have him crafted into a necklace. Does your family have these sort of conversations?

It has only been recently that the Catholic Church gave its members permission to be cremated. Their reasoning was to preserve the body for the coming resurrection. The idea always left me wondering about bodies that had been obliterated at Hiroshima. Do we not believe God is able to resurrect them? Is He not powerful enough to re-form the atoms of each person made in His image? If He counts the hairs on our head, then perhaps He knows how to put us back together again.

Today is Ash Wednesday. In a season like this, I wonder if there is anyone in need to God “putting them back together again”. We remember that we were created from dust and one day we will return to it. Death is the great equalizer of all people, and the pandemic has reminded us all of our mortality. It has been twelve long months of lent. Do we need six more weeks of it?

But, what if this year, we focused on resurrection instead? As I prepare for lent, the one that seems never-ending, I am asking God to resurrect some things within me. Not a resuscitation, but a resurrection. Resurrection is about making something new from something that has died. Christ’s body was resurrected and it was different. Changed. I do not want old things resuscitated. I want them to die and be made new. Different. Changed. I want to become a diamond.

It sounds uber spiritual, but I suspect it will be hard and painful. Someone recently said that if it’s hard, then you need to lean in even more. Ugh. Sounds more like self-flagellation. Yet, I am willing to wade into the season of lent with the intention of letting old things die so that new things can be resurrected on Easter morning. Even if you and I have spent the last twelve months fighting against this Lenten-type season, we can choose today to enter in now. We can choose to lay ourselves down that we might be resurrected on Easter morn.

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