Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday starts up the season of Lent. We over ate some for Fat Tuesday and are fasting till sunset today. I really do love this season and I can't put my finger on the real reason why. I'm not sure if I enjoy the inward journey of reflection or the attention repentance brings to the un-Christlikeness of myself. The waiting and the darkness of this season causes me to remember the sinner I am and the even worse sinner I use to be. I think I'm using the wrong word when I say I love this season, but I do! Here is some info for you.

The imposition of ashes on the foreheads of Christians is an ancient Christian Practice, going back at least 1000 years. Biblically, ashes are a symbol of purification and repentance.

In the early church, people who had been separated from the church because of serious sins might seek to be re-admitted to the fellowship by observing a formal period of penitence during Lent. These people were generally sprinkled with ashes or given rough garments sprinkled with ashes as a sign of their sorrow for their sins.

Beginning in the tenth century, the observance of Ash Wednesday became a general rite for the church. The ashes, which were a symbol of purification in the Old Testament, remind us that we are mortal. In many churches the ashes are made by burning the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday. Ashes are placed on the forehead, usually in the sign of a cross, in a ritual known as the Imposition of Ashes. As the ashes are placed on the forehead, words such as these are spoken: "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return," recalling God's words to Adam in Genesis 3:19

Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. Fasting is a powerful spiritual discipline. Through fasting and prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform your life.

There you have it, some information on Ash Wednesday. I pray you go to an Ash Wednesday service and get the Imposition of Ashes! When you do, make sure you go to the store and stop in to buy something. Someone WILL come up to you and say, "Hey, you got something on your forehead." Now, you can tell them that you have been marked by Christ!

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