During the season of Lent the Church Year takes on a particular focus. This focus is on our Savior’s death. This is, of course, always a focus of the Church, but we particularly focus on Jesus’ suffering during this season. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. On Ash Wednesday we begin a forty day journey to Holy Week which culminates with our Savior’s death on Good Friday.
Ash Wednesday takes its name from the imposition of ashes. Traditionally, at the Ash Wednesday Service the pastor will smear ashes on the forehead of the congregants and say, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This is a powerful reminder of our sin. It reflects God’s words to Adam after the Fall. We all are mortal because of that Fall. We all will return to that dust which Adam was created from. We all will die because of our sin. As we have in the past, we will again this year offer the imposition of Ashes for those who desire to receive it at our Ash Wednesday Service.
Death is a powerful witness to our need for a Savior. If you have ever been to a funeral you know what a powerful impact the casket makes. It very starkly reminds us that we too will one day die; we will die because of our sin. This should lead us to think about what happens after death. If we remain in our sin, we have only punishment to look forward to.
However, the imposition of ashes doesn’t end on this chilling note! The ashes are smeared on the forehead in the shape of a cross. That reminds us of our Savior! Jesus had no sin. He neither had a sinful nature nor committed a single sin. The wages of our sin was death, and so Jesus then died as the holy sacrifice to take away the punishment we had earned.
Our midweek Lenten Services this year will follow the theme of “Three Words of Truth.” Each Service we will examine a different three word statement from Scripture regarding our Lord’s Passion. Services will be held at 7pm. Our first Service is Ash Wednesday which falls on March 6th this year.
Lent is a somber time. It is a time to remember that Jesus died because of our sins. It is a time of repentance. But, it is not a time of despair. Jesus was victorious in His work. Jesus did rise again from the grave. We have the promise that we who believe in Him will also rise again to life in heaven, because Jesus lives (John 14:19)!