Ash Wednesday is February 14, 2018.
Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, is observed on the Wednesday of the seventh week before Easter. The day is named for the practice of imposing ashes, an ancient practice and sign of repentance that is mentioned several times in the Bible, including Jonah 3: 5-9, Job 42: 6, Jeremiah 6: 26 and Matthew 11: 21. Early Christians adopted the use of ashes from Jewish practice as an external mark of penitence. Many modern congregations find this to be a meaningful part of the Ash Wednesday liturgy. Ashes symbolize several aspects of our human existence:
- Ashes remind us of God’s condemnation of sin, as God said to Adam, “Dust you are and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19)
- Ashes suggest cleansing and renewal. In ancient times, they were used in the absence of soap. On Ash Wednesday, ashes are a penitential substitute for water as a reminder of our baptism.
- Ashes remind us of the shortness of human life, for, as it is said as we are buried, “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
- Ashes are a symbol of our need to repent, confess our sins and return to God.
The imposition of ashes
You will have three opportunities to receive ashes during this Ash Wednesday. The Interfaith Peace Chapel will be open from 11:45 a.m. - 1 p.m. for personal meditation with English and Spanish speaking clergy available for the imposition of ashes. “Ashes to Go”, 4:30pm. - 5:30pm at the Crossroads (Throckmorton and Cedar Springs) for those who cannot make it to church or aren’t ready or able to come to church, so we’re taking the church to them . Ashes will also be a part of the bilingual service at 7:15 p.m. in the church Sanctuary. Ashes are applied with the minister’s thumb in the form of a small cross on the forehead of each person with the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”