Welcome to Ash Wednesday and Lent
Ash Wednesday is this coming Wednesday, February 22. It is the beginning of the holy season of Lent. Since many of our members come from various backgrounds and not all grew up observing Ash Wednesday or Lent, we thought we’d give you the Readers’ Digest version of what this observance is all about.
According to Britannica online, “Ash Wednesday is a solemn reminder of human mortality and the need for reconciliation with God and marks the beginning of the penitential Lenten season. It is commonly observed with ashes and fasting.”
In ancient Rome, people who were deemed grievous sinners “were sprinkled with ashes, dressed in sackcloth, and obliged to remain apart until they were reconciled with the Christian community on Maundy Thursday, which is the Thursday before Easter. Eventually, the church decided to include everybody in that list of sinners.
The ashes come from the palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday, which are burned, ground and filter into what gets imposed on everybody’s foreheads.
Fun Fact: the Sundays in the season of Lent are not actually part of Lent. Therefore, those who observe the common practice of “giving up something for Lent” are given a pass on Sundays, which are considered “mini-Easters.”
Another Fun Fact: Lent starts with Ash Wednesday and concludes with the worship on Maundy Thursday. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday are also technically not part of Lent. They have their one name: The Triduum, or Three Days, which lead up to Easter Sunday.
This year we will offer two worship opportunities with Holy Communion and Ashes Imposition on February 22, at noon and at 7 p.m. A free soup meal will follow the noon service and will precede the 7 p.m. service.
For the remainder of Lent, we will offer free Wednesday soup suppers at 5:30 p.m., followed by a short, devotional worship service and discussion time where we will be invited to consider how we respond to God’s abundant gift of grace. All of these activities will be in the Fellowship Hall.
Lent is a gift of the church, calling us into contemplation of where we are in our walk with God, and how we might make any needed course corrections. We hope everyone will consider taking this special journey with us.