Lent is a time of reflection and journey of faith. It begins on Ash Wednesday (March 6), a night in which we mark our foreheads with ashes from the very celebration of Palm Sunday the year before, and culminates on Easter, with the resurrection of Jesus. As that cross is marked, we are reminded of our sins; we are marked by Jesus’ sacrifice; we are drawn to the realization that “[we] are dust, and to dust [we] shall return” (Genesis 3:19).
On Ash Wednesday and throughout the season of Lent, we also focus on repentance; on seeing where we have strayed from God’s plan and humbly confess those sins to Him, knowing that through faith in Jesus, those sins are forgiven.
“Repentance slays selfish pride, turns us from sin’s siren call, quiets arrogant arguments, tames out-of-control egos, pulls us back from distraction, leads us to restoration of relationships, places us on the pathway of walking with God, and restores our hearts with compassion and grace.
We need this personally. We need this as schools and congregations. We need this as a district. We need this as a synod. We need this as Christ’s Church.”Mike Newman
President of the Texas District of the LC-MS.
THE IMPOSITION OF ASHES
Everything we experience in life is finite and temporal, including our own lives. As the Scripture reports, we came from the dust of the ground and we will return to the dust of the ground. (Genesis 3:19 & Ecclesiastes 3:20)
For many centuries the use of ashes has symbolized repentance. Imposing ashes in the form of a cross on the forehead of the worshipper on Ash Wednesday is a vivid reminder that such a person has been redeemed by Christ the Crucified. It is a symbol, not primarily of our sins, but upon the forgiveness of them through faith in Jesus.
NOTE: Ash Wednesday is a somber time as we remember that Jesus willingly suffering and death come as a result of our sins and His love. As such, at the conclusion of worship that day, we will exit the church in silence.
May your observance of Ash Wednesday nurture your faith and inspire your daily witness to Christ.
Ash Wednesday is the first day in our new Sermon Series: “Passion.” Read more here.