During Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, many Catholic and Protestant priests and pastors schedule church services during which they administer ashes to each person by using a thumb dipped into ashes to make a cross on each person's forehead. As they administer the ashes, they generally would say, "Dust to dust, ashes to ashes" as a solemn reminder of humanity's fate. Although I sometimes attend church services on Ash Wednesday, I have been administered ashes on the forehead only once in recent memory, and my spirit vowed never to accept it again. I now know why I had such a powerful revulsion to the ashes and to the phrase quoted above.
The quoted phrase suggests that physical death is the end of the matter, but God reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15:54-56 that death is not the true victor, as we eventually will realize when those once deemed mortal become clothed with immortality. My hope is that the year 2017 will mark the final year in which Ash Wednesday ashes are administered. Perhaps instead of administering ashes, we could have immersion baptisms and a reaffirmation of our vows to God.