Do you remember the Sago, West Virginia Mining disaster in January, that cost 12 men their lives? It was an especially awful event because of the false report of survivors, followed some hours later by the harsh reality of all but one lost.
It is now being reported that one of the miners who perished, Jackie Weaver, had an interesting practice each day he entered the mine — including that day he did not walk out. Mr Weaver would write a simple two word sentence in the coal dust each and every day….
Why in the coal dust? Well, it certainly was the commodity at hand at a coal mine. But perhaps the fact that dust is so fleeting and temporal, was part of his message — a message to himself and to others. Perhaps it was a message to put this very hard work into perspective, or perhaps it was a reminder of the temporal nature of human life.
He would do it every day we’re told. Repetition for emphasis? Repetition as a personal re-affirmation of his own beliefs? Repetition because others had yet to get his message? Probably all these reasons I suspect.
When I first read about Mr Weaver’s two word daily scribbling in the dust, my eyes welled up with emotion. As a pastor/theologian I saw the connection to one of the great and indisputable truths of the Bible: ashes to ashes, dust to dust — human beings’ bodies do not last forever, but die and decay.
Mr Weaver died that early January day after he wrote these two words one last time: Jesus saves.
If today was your final day (it could be, you know), what are you believing?
That event took 12 men back “to dust” — and at least one, I believe, to glory.