Ash Wednesday and the Season of Lent
Good morning church,
Around this time of year, there are always questions about Ash Wednesday and Lent, so I thought I would share a few words about this day and season.
In the Church. Lent is a season of forty days in preparation for celebrating Easter. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Sundays are not included in the forty days as every Sunday throughout the year is considered a “little Easter.” The season began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by converts and then became a time of penance by all Christians. Lent is a time for the entire Church to be reminded of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the need we all have to renew our faith.
On Ash Wednesday, palms from the previous Palm/Passion Sunday are burned and we receive the mark of the ashes as a sign of our sin and mortality, both of which Christ defeats at Easter. The most traditional way to receive the ashes is by a sign of the cross on the forehead, though we will receive them in a different way this year. As we are marked by the ashes, the season of Lent is marked by prayer, fasting, and giving alms. Focusing on these three practices, Matthew 6 is a text often used as we begin this season. A question during the season has always been, “What are you giving up for Lent?” In recent years, another question has become common as well, “What will you take on for Lent?”
Whether you are giving up something or taking on something for Lent or both, I pray your faith is strengthened during this season as you draw closer to God.
Grace and Peace.