I'm not an artist. But my wife is. She can mix paints, see things in a blank canvas, and view the world in a way I cannot see. Yesterday though, I got to play artist. I mixed the oil and ash. I dabbed my thumb in it and wiped it on foreheads. When I did this, I told little children that Jesus loved them. I told adults, "Be mindful of your sins, and trust in the Gospel." This isn't my handiwork, but what was on their foreheads looked like this:
That is my forehead. With a cross on it, of course. The cross used to be a symbol of pain and death. In Jesus' day, it was the ultimate in pain and agony. Looking at it reminded you of Rome's immense power. Looking at it told you to shape up, or else.
The cross was a symbol of abandonment, pain, and ultimately - death. Mortality.
Strange symbol to put on your forehead in oil and ash. The symbol has, like me, been redeemed. Now, I get to put it on foreheads to remind us that even if we are dust - we are redeemed dust. Dust that can be alive. Dust that can know joy and peace and purpose.
You know the first law of thermodynamics? It is that energy can be neither created or destroyed. Interesting scientific law, don't you think? I love it. Some would say it denies our God. I say it is a fancy scientific way of saying, "ashes to ashes, dust to dust."
Your body is made of star-dust. The atoms in your body have and always will ("always" as we understand it) exist. How cool is that? Of course, it took a long and winding path to get you into the person you are today, but that is every day creation for a Creator-God.
Obviously, you are bigger than dust. But only if you give yourself to a God who specializes in animating star dust.
Give it a try.