Dust

Genesis 1 is one of my favorite passages in the whole of scripture, telling us so much about who God is and about who we are and about who we are meant to be.

It reads like poetry, but that doesn’t stop me from finding new ways to state the truth I find there, and that causes me to read it anew and receive it as if for the first time.

This is the most recent project that sprung from the very dramatic opening to this very dramatic story called life.

An unabridged version of the poem I wrote can be read below.

Before everything was nothing.

Then breath passed past the lips of God; words rocketed into the dark. And the nothing blinked and burst into bright, trembling being.

When the dust finally settled from all the commotion of making mountains and oceans and all the rest, this dust was blown about with ease by the breeze, an endless parcel of unremarkable particles.

Then, into this dust— this crust of the earth— came the very hand of God.

From dust he brought about beauty until from the dirt he’d hewn the human form, perfect and priceless.

But breathless, lifeless, far less than what he had in mind for humankind. For his kindness has always had more in store for us.

So he leaned in quite close. And thus, into this dust he breathed life.

And what am I to do with this breathing in and out but to lift my voice in Worship? That is breath’s very purpose. The thing that’s of worth is this raising of praise!

But can this mouth speak your name when marked by the shame of the things I’ve said? All the unwholesome talk that comes out of it, that spouts from it?

These lips are not worthy to give worth to Thee. So I will say a prayer like Isaiah for I am a creature of unclean lips. Touch the hot coal of your grace to this mouth so I can cry holy. For only from you can I come to form the words due you in praise.

For your words brought all things into the persistence of existence and my words come at the insistence of your breath in my lungs, of a work in me that’s been done and is still doing the work of reworking this dust into finer stuff.

So these knees sink down to the dust as they must in adoration of you.

And though praise may fall from my lips ceaselessly they will fail to be enough to give due to the wonder of you who gave me breath.

Yet until the day when you lay this body to rest in the blessed dust where it began… from this dust will rise the cries of praise!