We gather to worship on Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of our Lenten walk with Jesus by recognizing and confessing our mortality, our sinfulness and God’s gracious gift of everlasting life. You are invited to the full liturgy of Ash Wednesday with Imposition of Ashes and Holy Eucharist at noon and 7:00 p.m. We also offer “Ashes to Go” in front of the sanctuary 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Rev. Bob Friend will preach; the readings for Ash Wednesday can be found here
Why do we begin Lent by wearing ashes? The first reading from Joel offers insights. The prophet describes an event called the Day of the Lord, a day associated with judgment and destruction. To avoid its consequences, Joel tells his community to perform outward expressions of mourning, such as fasting and weeping (Jl 2:12). These actions enable the people to correct their behavior and focus on improving their relationships with God. Wearing ashes, which can be a sign of mourning, unites us as we embark on this solemn period. The ashes remind us to be introspective and to behave in a way that nurtures our relationship with God. As the second reading proclaims, “we are ambassadors for Christ as if God were appealing through us” (2 Cor 5:20). We wear ashes not to show off our holiness to the world but to expose our commitment to consciously living in the manner of Christ. Our ashes are powerfully symbolic. Made in the shape of the cross, they physically remind us of Christ’s crucifixion and death. They remind us of our own mortality, and they connect us with past liturgical celebrations.
(Excerpted from an article by Jaime L. Waters, published in America – The Jesuit Review)