Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent
Our Ash Wednesday service is a beautiful time of solemn reflection. We try to grow more aware of the ways in which the world calls us to vain, shallow, self-absorbed and self-destructive pathways. We open our hearts to God’s amazing, generous, all-forgiving love.
Our response to God’s lavish love is to feel amazed and humble. It’s as if our big fat egos burn to ashes in the light of God’s grace! We want to do better. We want to live lives of light! On Ash Wednesday, the symbol we take for this vow is ashes — a traditional sign of repentance. Then, we faithfully trust in God’s power to redeem and renew us!
During today’s prayer services, you will be invited to come to the altar to receive ashes on your forehead. But you don’t have to if you don’t want to!
Music during the service will help evoke a sense of amazement. I might be a total mess, but God loves me, feels my pain, lifts me up! God dusts me off, gives me a big hug and send me back out into the world. I am renewed with fresh strength — because it’s God’s power, not my own!
“We have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” – St. Paul in Romans 6:4
For the rest of this season of reflection, we invite you to our Lenten soup suppers and prayer services. We hold them every Thursday through Holy Week. This is a time we use to prepare our hearts to experience, with Jesus, his suffering and death – done for our sake!
We know that a “new life” awaits us with the Glory of Easter!
What about pancakes?
Fat Tuesday – People may be more familiar with Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. In many countries and in parts of the United States, it’s a moment of partying and revelry before the somber mood of Lent kicks in. Traditionally, one of the “sacrifices” of Lent was eating bread without leavening. So in some communities still, people make lots of waffles, pancakes or lefse to use up eggs and other leavening they may still have in the kitchen.