Earth to Earth, Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust.

Written by Cadillac Reverend Richard A Anderson

I’m certain that the above words are familiar to most of you. These words are read at a Christian Committal Rite prior to the body, or ashes, being placed in the ground. Similar words are said on Ash Wednesday (the first day of the forty days of Lent.) As ashes are placed on the Christian’s brow, the pastor/priest says, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” as a reminder that we are mortal and that, in God’s good time, we will depart this earthly life.

The Lenten Season is a time of reflections and a time of expectations. We are enjoined to reflect on the words from the book of Joel, chapter 2:12-14. It calls us to “return to the Lord with you whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning, and return to the Lord your God. For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

The expectation aspect of Lent is of focusing on the life and passion of Jesus. Remember that the forty days of Lent are about Jesus and his journey to the cross. Remember also, that he could not be dissuaded to go another way. He did not turn his face from Jerusalem or betrayal, denial, mockery, beating, trial or the cruelty of the cross. Why? Because he was obedient to his heavenly father and out of love, bore our sins on that cross.

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* Important Notice *

Earlier this year, Samaritas was under investigation by the state for allegations of abuse in our emergency shelter in Grand Rapids. We opened this shelter 26 months earlier for children from Central America crossing the border fleeing from horrible condition; we were asked to take in Afghan youth when there was no other place for them to go after the crisis in Afghanistan occurred. We accepted 19 youth in response to this request and our long-term commitment to help youth to the greatest extent possible at the time of their greatest need. Samaritas was one of several similar emergency shelters across the country asked to take in these refugee youth.

Due to the severe level of trauma they had endured, many of them required intensive therapy and counseling. As a result of the growing concern we had for the depth and breadth of those needs of the youth and the safety of our team, we made the decision to work with our referring partners to move the youth to other programs where they could access the higher level of trauma-informed care, supervision, and medical attention that they required. Due to state and federal oversight of our programs, we are unable to share specific details of the investigation but we were cleared of any abuse allegations by the state and all youth were transferred to appropriate residential placements where they could receive the care they needed. Samaritas continues to be a state and federal leader in refugee resettlement, including refugee foster care.


Please Contact:
Joe DiBenedetto
Lambert & Co.
(516) 637-0597

Matt Friedman
Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications
(248) 762-1430