The band Kansas released their album, Point of Know Return in 1977. I was 16 at the time and I am pretty sure that I probably did not hear it till maybe a few years later. I was too busy listening to pop rock. It probably wasn’t until I got into college and started listening to a classic rock station that I probably ever heard this song. I know that by the mid-80’s my musical taste had increased dramatically, and I actually owned this album. Still even though I would sing along with the song, the words just rolled right off me. It wasn’t until my mid to late twenties that I started paying attention to the lyrics. Let me share some of them with you.
“I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment's gone All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity Dust in the wind All they are is dust in the wind” Songwriters: Kerry Livgren / Kerry A Livgren Dust in the Wind lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC We all have dreams and by that, I mean desires. I am not talking about the dream you sometimes have that you are like Superman and can fly. What you’ve never had that kind of dream? I have, but I digress. Maybe you dream of retiring to Florida or sending your children to college? Those are good dreams, but the point of this song is that nothing is eternal or at least nothing on Earth is eternal. “Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see Dust in the wind All we are is dust in the wind” Dust in the Wind lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC This song is so up-lifting! Aren’t you excited just listening to it? Face it, this song is dreary. In New Jersey, this time of year leading up to Ash Wednesday can be a bit lifeless. The weather is often cold. We have passed the highs of Christmas and New Year’s. The flowers are not yet in bloom. Your life may not be going well, your job may be stressful, your health may be deteriorating, or your spirituality may have ‘crumbled to the ground.’ “…Now, don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky It slips away And all your money won't another minute buy Dust in the wind All we are is dust in the wind…” Dust in the Wind lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC Finally, we get some advice. The songwriter reminds us that our money will NOT buy us even a moment in time. You may be humming this song right now in your head. Given this cheery song that I have shared, what do we do with our lives and where do we turn for answers, especially since our money is useless? The answer is simple. We turn to God for what He has said, and we turn to the Bible as His gift to us so that the answers that were given back then, remind us of our salvation. Genesis 3:19 (ESV) "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The words, “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” are often used at the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday. This reminds us of our sinful nature and that sin leads to a physical and spiritual death, if we chose to live apart from Jesus. Job 2:12 (ESV) "And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven." Dust or ash was often used as a sign of mourning. Job’s friends mourn for the situation that they find their friend in, because things are SO bad. Ecclesiastes 1:13-15 English Standard Version (ESV) "13 And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. This passage was written by Solomon, who also was a song writer. You might wonder to what extent Kerry Livgren might have been influenced by this verse? Well Kerry did not come to faith till a few years later. Still he might have been exposed to this passage. There is a beauty in this verse. Solomon is the wisest man that has ever lived. According to the God’s statements about Solomon, no one since Solomon has ever been as wise as Solomon, so we should pay attention to what is being said here. The wisest of the wise says that all the pleasures that one can run after are NOTHING. Even chasing knowledge, making it into an idol is meaningless. The reason why is because we have a limited time here on Earth. But there is hope in being dust, as it says below. 1 Corinthians 15:48-49 (ESV) As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. So, this Ash Wednesday, take some time and visit church and put on the symbol of our Lord in ashes. Be reminded that you too will also one day return to the dust, but like Jesus you will also rise to Eternal Life!