'Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return'. These powerful words from the Ash Wednesday liturgy are still ringing in my ears. A reminder of our mortality, of our nothingness, the common denominator whether we are rich or poor, educated or not, born in the west or in a poorer part of the world. Yet Christians know and believe that we are definitely not nothing, but something. Known by our name before we are born, says the psalmist, chosen and precious it says elsewhere in the Bible.
Today's Count your Blessings is about rubbish. The average household throws away 4kg of food and drink every week I read. I was brought up in a household who believed in compost from the earliest of days and 'feeding the birds' with the rest. Everything was precious and had a use, even when decomposing. Then along came packaging and the waste pile grew. The great reclaimation over the years has been the growth of the recycling industry, redeeming that packaging be it tin or paper, plastic or card and using it for other things. We can then buy back recycled products and score even more brownie points on the satisfaction scale. Simply burying all our rubbish just isn't good for the world.
There are many people today who feel like rubbish, they have been disguarded, abused, literally treated like dirt and the less care we take about the disposal of our unwanted things, be it from the attic, the garden or the kitchen cupboard or fridge, the less likely we are to see the value in anything, of God's world, of our environment, of the human being. Our Ash Wednesday refrain is also a reminder that God longs to lift us out of the rubbish dump of sin, to redeem us, to turn us from nothing into something.
As I consider my kitchen rubbish today, I will think twice about what is real rubbish.....and what can be redeemed for the sake of God's kingdom here on earth and in life everlasting.