Ash Wednesday begins the Christian season of Lent. Here at First Christian Church, we will spend the coming days raising questions every Christian – no, every person! – asks:
Many Christians will spend these coming days practicing a new spiritual discipline: taking up a new spiritual discipline or giving up a practice that seems to be getting in the way of the life we long to live. On Ash Wednesday, we come together to mark the beginning of this Lenten journey as we too commit to taking up a new commitment to act or to release that which holds us back, as we are renewed by the good news that life will always overcome death and hurt and division and pain. Moreover, we resolve to more truly trust God.
As part of Ash Wednesday worship, the “imposition of ashes” will be offered. This practice may not be familiar to you. Ashes have been used in Christian churches to mark the beginning of Lent since at least the tenth century C.E., and symbolize both the mortality and transience of our lives, but also the grace of God which never leaves us no matter who we are or what we have done. Those who wish to receive the imposition of ashes will be invited to come forward by the center aisle and return to your seats by the side aisles. For those who wish to come, we will place the mark of ashes on your forehead or, if you would prefer, to mark the back of your hand. If you prefer the latter, simply hold your hand out instead.
Let us begin our time of worship by focusing our minds and hearts on God’s presence with us. Take this hour away from your daily routine and know that God is near, that God loves you, and that wherever you are on your own faith journey you are welcome in this place and in the sight of God.