Ash Wednesday is March 2nd this year. Ash Wednesday is the official beginning of the season of Lent. The season of Lent lasts forty days, not counting Sundays, and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent is a time of repentance, fasting or abstinence, and preparation for the coming of Easter. Many people will choose to “give up” something for Lent as a way to practice abstinence during the period and break their fast on Easter Day.
Ash Wednesday emphasizes our sinfulness before God and our mortality, and as a result of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we triumph over both. In scripture, ashes are used in rituals when people seek forgiveness and mourn their sin.
Though the practice of placing ashes on the heads of Christians to mark the beginning of Lent, dates back to the 10th century, for the United Methodist Church, it was more recent adoption. The United Methodists first added an official ritual that included the use of ashes on Ash Wednesday in the 1992 Book of Worship. Having the ashes marked on your forehead in the shape of a cross symbolizes your awareness of your mortality and your intent to repent. On this day we come before God in worship recognizing our humanity, repenting of our sins, and remembering that we are dust, and to dust we shall return.
All are welcome to attend our Ash Wednesday service March 2 at 7 p.m. Please tell us you will be attending by pre-registering here.
This Lenten season at Sterling UMC also includes a Labyrinth that you can visit at any time in our front parking lot to meditate and pray. We also have a special Lenten Bible study based on the book by Adam Hamilton “The Lord’s Prayer.” This study will be led by Pastor Linda Monroe on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m.
For more information on all our Lenten activities and Holy Week click here.