Speaking Christian- Ash Wednesday
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness;
In your great compassion blot out my offenses.
Wash me through and through from my
wickedness and cleanse me from my sin
As part of this prayer service, ashes are placed on the forehead often in the form of a cross and the words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” are spoken by the presider. These ashes are traditionally the burnt remains of the palm leaves used in the previous year’s Holy Week gatherings. These ashes serve to remind all that we too will return to the earth and become dust again in time. Yet it is in this season of Lent that we are called to a time of self -evaluation, penitence, prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It is in reading and meditating on God’s Word that we grow in faith and understanding of the depth of God’s love and the sacrifice Jesus made for us through his death.
Ash Wednesday calls us to begin the Season of Lent with repentant hearts and to prepare ourselves for what is to come.
A prayer for Ash Wednesday:
Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth;
Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, so we may remember that only by your gracious gift are we given everlasting life;
Through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.
How does the observance of Ash Wednesday have special meaning for you?
If you have not observed and participated in an Ash Wednesday service before what prevents you from sharing in this? Is it difficult for you to think of yourself as mortal, and that yes you will become dust once again? Or it is difficult because of your faith being tested to new possibilities of what Jesus experienced for you?
Ash Wednesday and the Season of Lent offer to you opportunities to evaluate your relationship with God, your understanding of repentance and the gift to pray and share of yourself in new ways as the Spirit leads you.
We often think of ‘giving up’ something for Lent- but what are you really giving to others in this wilderness time of learning about Jesus and you?