Lenten Devotional // Day 1

Wednesday, March 2
You Are Dust by Dave Merrill

Psalm 103
Let my whole being bless the Lord!
    Let everything inside me bless his holy name!
Let my whole being bless the Lord
    and never forget all his good deeds:
    how God forgives all your sins,
    heals all your sickness,
    saves your life from the pit,
    crowns you with faithful love and compassion,
    and satisfies you with plenty of good things
    so that your youth is made fresh like an eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness;
    does justice for all who are oppressed.
God made his ways known to Moses;
    made his deeds known to the Israelites.
The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
    very patient, and full of faithful love.
God won’t always play the judge;
    he won’t be angry forever.
He doesn’t deal with us according to our sin
    or repay us according to our wrongdoing,
    because as high as heaven is above the earth,
    that’s how large God’s faithful love is for those who honor him.
As far as east is from west—
    that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.
Like a parent feels compassion for their children—
    that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor him.
Because God knows how we’re made,
    God remembers we’re just dust.
The days of a human life are like grass:
    they bloom like a wildflower;
    but when the wind blows through it, it’s gone;
    even the ground where it stood doesn’t remember it.
But the Lord’s faithful love is from forever ago to forever from now
     for those who honor him.
And God’s righteousness reaches to the grandchildren
     of those who keep his covenant
     and remember to keep his commands.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
     and his kingdom rules over all.
You divine messengers,
     bless the Lord!
You who are mighty in power and keep his word,
     who obey everything he says,
     bless him!
All you heavenly forces,
     bless the Lord!
All you who serve him and do his will,
     bless him!
All God’s creatures,
     bless the Lord!
Everywhere, throughout his kingdom,
    let my whole being
    bless the Lord!

Reflection

My whole being!  Really?  Literally everything inside me is to bless his holy name?  How does one ever attain such a state of praise?  Seems impossible.  To make things even more confusing, the author goes on to say never forget that you’re a sick, sinner who lives in a pit.  Wow!  Great pep talk!  I feel the blessing welling up within me.

Honestly though, this approach to blessing the Lord is genius.  It’s hard to comprehend, but genius nonetheless.  It all came together for me when I was watching a cowboy try to convince a spork he was a toy.

Do you remember that one?  In Toy Story 4, Bonnie (the little girl) creates a toy from pieces of trash, and she names him Forky.  Nothing more than a spork with a twisted pipe cleaner for arms, a broken popsicle stick for feet and a mismatched pair of googly eyes topped with an eyebrow of licorice. All straight from the garbage can.  The only trouble is that Forky repeatedly runs for the trash can everytime Bonnie looks away, only to be chased down by Sheriff Woody and placed back in front of Bonnie.  Over and over, Woody declares to Forky that, “You are a toy!” He’s met with the adamant exclamation, “TRASH!”  

It’s not until halfway through the movie that Woody finally and accidentally makes some headway in explaining to Forky how important he is to Bonnie.  In explaining his own experience as a toy to Andy, Woody culminates with his feelings of uselessness, his purpose fulfillment, and being tucked away in a closet after Andy grew up.  Forky then says, “You're just like me!  You’re trash!”  He then goes on to describe his obsession with being trash by saying “it's warm, it’s cozy…it’s like someone whispering in your ear that everything is going to be okay.”  Finally Woody says, “That’s it! That’s how Bonnie feels about you!”

Annnnnd scene.  Forky finally understands his value and his purpose.  He’s Bonnie’s TRASH!

Do you see it?  You and I…

We’re dust.  

We’re like withering grass.  The Psalm reminds us that we serve our purpose and then we’re forgotten.  Like a toy passed it’s prime or a spork after having been used for soup, we could easily be misunderstood as useless or insignificant.

It’s simply not true though.  Much like Forky, our value and our purpose in this life come from the one who created us.  God looks beyond our dust, our sin and our wrongdoings and ascribes value and significance to our lives.  It’s not our job to attempt to be something we’re not.  I love that Forky never owns up to being a toy.  He finally finds his value in being there for his kid as trash! He never lost track of who he was or where he came from.  He just needed to see that Bonnie could benefit from trash too.

You. Are. Dust.  Seemingly insignificant.  Here today and gone tomorrow.  

Yet, you are where God’s love and forgiveness lie.  You’re God’s dust.  God’s name is written on the bottom of “your popsicle sticks.”  There’s nothing you can do or person you can become that God isn’t able to look beyond because you are God’s!  You don’t attain God’s love through being flashy or having shiny blinking lights or a pull string that makes you say “God is great!” You get God’s love specifically because…you…are…dust.

Perhaps it’s right there where we can find our ability to bless God with our whole being.  Maybe we can bless God with everything we are this Lenten season, when we start by knowing we don’t bring anything to the table to begin with.  Like our adorable spork friend, we’ve been plucked out of the trash can (the dust) and created for the purpose of being loved.

Question for Contemplation

In place of receiving God’s love just as you are, where are you still trying too hard to please God?  To convince yourself and others that you are worth loving?

Prayer

“Most loving creator, I thank you for piecing together mere particles to form me.  I confess that I don’t always understand my value and how you can love me, but on this day I choose to see my significance in your eyes.  Help me to receive your love at all moments.  May my confusion and disbelief of your unfair grace be transformed into faith and appreciation in my life.  Let everything I am praise your Holy name.  Amen.”

1 Comment


Brittany Radford - March 3rd, 2022 at 7:03am

I actually might watch Toy Story now but I love the connection to trash. Sometimes in life we discard the pieces of ourselves because we feel that are unworthy of Gods love. Yet, the scripture reminds us that God continues to live, cherish, and choose us even when we feel insignificant. Thank you for this reminder!!!

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