21 Feb Ash Wednesday at FBC
Ash Wednesday has been part of the broader Christian tradition for 1200 years. Baptists have not necessarily been known to participate in this observance, but I’m grateful our church embraces its participation in the larger body of Christ in this way.
On this day, our church will have a worship service which will include Scripture reading, prayer, meditation, and the placing of ashes on the forehead or wrists. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lenten season, a 40 day period of reflection, fasting, and generosity leading up to Easter Sunday.
The number 40 is significant in the Bible–it is the length of time Moses spent on Mount Sinai before descending with the 10 Commandments. It’s also the length of time Jesus was tested in the wilderness after his baptism and before his earthly ministry.
Some people will opt to “give up” something for Lent–chocolate, alcohol, certain foods, and even social media are among the more notable choices. The primary motivation for the Lenten season is to slow down in remembering the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus. Simplicity is a spiritual discipline that help us in growing closer to Christ, especially as we make our way to the cross.
Ash Wednesday offers a ‘stop sign’ for God’s people to realize their own mortality, sinfulness, and need for humility. “From dust you are, and from dust you shall return” is a key passage that is offered during this worship service.
I appreciate the words of John Pierce: “Perhaps in addition to our accountability groups, we need grace groups to remind one another that we are loved and affirmed in failures, differences, and in perfections–keeping in forefront the reality that none of us has it all figure out.”
I’m grateful to begin Lent with our people, and urge others who want to experience this season to join us–DC