ESSAY

Week 4

From dust thou art, and to dust returneth.

by Jill Heaberlin, member, White Bear UU Church, Mahtomedi, Minnesota

I’ve never been quite comfortable with the dryness of this expression. Moreover, it always seemed somehow slightly demeaning: don’t go putting on airs, don’t expect too much—dust to dust is all we are.

But if I take those words and just add water, everything changes: “From out of the life-giving, carbon-sequestering, precious soil of the Earth, made rich by eons of life abundant cycling on before you, thou art generously made, and to that home your vibrant life returneth, and will be gratefully received.”