Ash Wednesday was not part of my spiritual practice during my youth. It has grown to be one of my favorite services of the year.
There is an honesty and hopefulness that transcends Ash Wednesday.
While we are not doing an in-person Ash Wednesday service this year I wanted to take a moment and help us reflect on this most important of days in the church calendar.
Why we Gather
Our time together began with a reminder of why we gathered together.
Friends in Christ, we begin today a forty-day journey toward Easter.
We enter the Lenten season to prepare ourselves to welcome the risen Christ with loves renewed by the
breath of his Spirit.
We assume a discipline of self-examination, confession, and repentance.
We dedicate ourselves to meditate upon the scriptures and to converse with God in prayer.
We seek to be more faithful disciples of Christ whose lives are shaped by the one whom we confess to be Lord and Savior of the world.
To this end, let us worship God.
Words of Focus
We sang songs, listened to the scriptures, and then heard the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.”
We hear these words as the ash from last year’s palms, used in our Palm Sunday celebration, take the form of a cross on our forehead.
To some, this celebration may seem morbid or too somber.
Preparing to Celebrate
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of a celebration for those of us who recognize the depth of our need for spiritual healing and renewal.
Ash Wednesday is a reminder of our mortality. It is a reminder of our frailty.
I am reminded of how easy it is for me to hurt and wound those I love most. Ash Wednesday reminds me of my constant need for renewal, transformation, rebirth.
Ash Wednesday gives me hope. No matter how dark things may seem, EASTER IS COMING!
It happens every year. Easter always follows Ash Wednesday. The celebration of rebirth, renewal, transformation comes after we remember the season of suffering that Jesus endured. I have faith we will celebrate again this year!
As we enter this Lenten season, let me invite you into a season of discernment.
Invite the Spirit of God to show you how you can be a part of growing the Kingdom of God. Ask the Spirit to show you how you can unleash the renewal, transformation, and rebirth that Christ so desperately wants to see in our lives and our world.
If you are looking for another meditation on Ash Wednesday, The Welcome Table has some good thoughts to share.