Lent – Ash Wednesday Marks the Beginning
February 26 our church will observe “Ash Wednesday”, which officially brings us into the season of Lent with its culmination in the Church’s greatest celebration of the year, that of Easter. Lent as a season is one of penitential reflection and sober contemplation upon one’s sin, and lasts 40 days (not including Sundays).
It’s duration and character draws from
- Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1ff)
- Evidenced by Moses (Exodus 34:28)
- Elijah’s 40 days journey on 1 meal (1 Kings 19:8)
- The Israelites 40 years of wandering in the wilderness
Lent – A Time of Repentance
Lent’s essential character is repentance, a true brokenness over our sin, as well as recognition of the terrible price paid for that sin by
our Lord Jesus. On Ash Wednesday in particular, this penitential reflection, sorrow, and acknowledgment of sin are visibly exhibited by the application of ash to one’s forehead.
The bible associates ash as a symbol of grief, duress, repentance, and destruction (2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 42:6; Daniel 9:3). The ash is also a way of expressing our own mortality (Genesis 3:19b, 18:27), thus making it incredibly appropriate and powerful as a visible representation of our repentance and grief.
Lent – A Time to Reflect
It is good for us to reflect upon personal matters such as our sin and mortality, for they are two topics current culture rarely addresses. Ash Wednesday gives to us this opportunity as our worship leads us to reflect upon our sin. The ashes upon our foreheads serve as a clear reminder that none of us are exempt from the effects of sin and death.
May Ash Wednesday remind us all the more of our sin, and draw us all the more nearer to the Cross.