Saint Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

1 St. Francis Drive - Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
From The Rector

The Rev.
Tim Backus


“Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return..." 

These words are more than just words depending on how we approach them. Or, how they approach us… For some of us, when we attend the service on Ash Wednesday and experience the marking of the cross on our forehead with these words intently spoken, while we are reminded that one day we will die, we feel that our day of returning to the dust may be decades away with a long life ahead of us; and that may be true. 

For others, these words take on a very different meaning depending on where we are in our lives. Some of us may come to the altar faced with ongoing battles with cancer, major health issues, or various complications due to rising higher in our mortal years. For those of us being faced with a greater urgency of our own mortality, these are not words that simply roll off the lips of the priest for us to worry about in the distant future; these words are in the here and now. We don’t just hear them; we feel them. Whether it is because we feel our own mortality is drawing closer to an end or quickly reminded of the loss of loved ones who have gone before us; these marks may seem to penetrate beyond our skin; sinking into the depths of our soul. 

As difficult as this may be, may we be reminded that death is not the final answer. God made sure of this through his Son, Jesus Christ. When we turn to the cross; we turn to Jesus. When we return to the ashes; we return to our God. While the ashes may signify our own mortality, they also signify our salvation through the grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ. 

In life, the only mortal promise we have is death. And that promise of death is overturned by Jesus into the promise of risen life, thanks be to God. 

Give rest, O Christ, to thy servants with thy saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting. Amen. 

With the love of Christ,