A little over three weeks ago, many heard these words: “Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Thus began Lent.

What if you heard—

“Creator God, biblical poets tell us you fashioned us from the clay of the earth giving us life from your own breath. On Ash Wednesday, many hear ‘…to dust you shall return,’ let us begin to reflect what it means to be reduced to stardust which is smaller than clay, smaller than dust, but larger than life…”?

For almost 20 years, we leave church with glittering foreheads and a joyful anticipation of Lent. Of course, you don’t need glitter to have a joyful experience. Joy is more than laughter and being happy. However, since we have united the findings of science and biblical poetry, many persons talk about how Lent has changed for them because we use stardust as a starting point and not ashes.

“I don’t think of giving up something anymore. I ask myself what I can do for someone else…to make their day shine.”

“It’s just a way for me to be aware that we are an Easter people.”

“Oh, I still need to repent but there’s a difference now. It’s more a half full glass.”

“At first I thought the earth was going to swallow me up for blasphemy but I know, I believe God loves what we’re doing. Glitter crosses on our foreheads—what a hoot!”

If you might be skeptical, please watch Rev. George Coyne, a Roman Catholic priest and scientist, tell us how upon physical death, we are reduced, not to dust, but to stardust.

Pat Pickett, OblSB