Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

As I prepare for our Ash Wednesday services, I also prepare for the Friday funeral of my long time ministry colleague Pastor Rob Dotzel.  

When people have asked me what the ashes represent, I always start out with “they mean we are all going to die”.  We live in a culture that tries hard not to think about death; we need Ash Wednesday to remind us of the fragility of life.

I also say that we are broken and need to admit that to God.  We live in a culture that tries really hard not to admit limitations and failures; we need Ash Wednesday to speak that truth.

But after eighteen months of urgent prayers, hopes, disappointments, and then reluctant acceptance as we at Gloria Dei have walked this brain-tumor-journey with Rob, I need – and maybe all of us who have walked this path need - instead to hear the “rest of the story” of Ash Wednesday….The part about how, in spite of our fragile mortality, in the midst of our broken and limited lives, we are in fact called named, claimed, and loved as children of God. That is why we make the sign of the cross – to remember our baptism.

What seems like an ending is an invitation to make each day a new beginning, washed in God’s mercy and forgiveness.

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245