Wednesday, March 2nd marks the beginning of Lent 2022. “Ash Wednesday” officially bringing us into the season that culminates in the Church’s greatest celebration of the year, 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 is drawn from Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1ff), and is evidenced also by Moses (Exodus 34:28), Elijah (1 Kings 19:8), and the people of Israel as they wandered for 40 years in the wilderness.
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) and also as 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.
Living in a culture that rarely addresses the topics of sin, consequence, and mortality. Lent’s message is one which our souls need to hear. Our sermon series is titled “Sin’s Bitter Taste” and by God’s grace these next 40 days will lead us on a journey that explores the depths of our sin as well as the heights of Christ’s love.
“Until sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet”