24 Feb Ash Wednesday Service is March 2nd
We’ve had good participation and discussion during our Four Fragile Freedoms study on Wednesday nights. One of the chapters relates to “Church Freedom” which means Baptist churches get to select and ordain their own clergy, make their own decisions, and plan and carry out their own worship services. This is not an exhaustive list but rather a sampling of the privileges we have as a church to carry out our mission.
There aren’t many Baptist churches who observe the Lenten season–especially in our immediate area. I’m grateful that we are the exception in this regard, especially as we commemorate Ash Wednesday. This worship experience may be unique to us, but it is one that we’ve practiced for several years and began prior to my arrival in Clinton.
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lenten season, a 40 day period of prayer, reflection, and fasting (for some). It’s a time to remember our sinfulness and the cost of that forgiveness provided by our Lord Jesus Christ.
One verse that is used during this observance is found in Ecclesiastes 3.19-20: “Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”
The Ash Wednesday observance provides an occasion for reflection, prayer, Scripture reading, and culminates in the placement of ashes on the forehead or wrist. It is a solemn time to be reminded of our mortality and sinfulness, and that “all come from dust and to dust we will return.”
Of course we will celebrate the resurrection of our Lord on Easter Sunday, but the Lenten season provides an extended period of time to consider how we are living our lives, and what changes we need to make to align with Jesus Christ and his purpose of our lives. The season also informs our thinking to realize the tremendous sacrifice and suffering Jesus endured on our behalf to make salvation possible for us.
I’m so grateful our church is offering this worship opportunity, as we’ll join with Christians from a variety of denominational backgrounds in solidarity of our love and appreciation for Christ. I’m also thankful to take part in this experience with our family of faith, and look forward to seeing many of our people together for this meaningful worship service–DC