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Ash Wednesday and Lent

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  • Ash Wednesday and Lent

    The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the heart of the Christian gospel; accordingly, Good Friday and Easter climax the Christian year. Spiritual preparation is necessary to embrace the fullness of this event as the pinnacle of the faith. For many of the faithful this preparation begins with Ash Wednesday. This year Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day fall on the same day. How interesting that a day meant to mark human love and affection falls on the day in which we enter a season of looking ahead to the ultimate expression of love for the creation by the Lord God. The faithful celebrants will enter the season of Lent on Wednesday, February 14 with Ash Wednesday.

    Ash Wednesday is forecasting for Christians what the Day of Atonement was for those who worshiped at the temple in Jerusalem. Lent is a season of preparation and repentance during which we ponder our mortality and sinfulness and thus our need to die and rise with Jesus Christ not only in once-for-all baptism but also in the daily mortification of our old self and vivification of our new creature. Through deliberate forms of self-denial, Christians in Lent open their hearts to the self-giving grace of Jesus Christ and their own union with Christ.

    Marking the face with ash announces to the world the pondering what significant something will be relinquished during lent. That something significant which is relinquished during lent becomes a constant reminder of the approaching day when the faithful celebrate their vivification in Christ. On Easter, the traditional faithful don new clothing as a symbol of the new creature as part of the rehearsal for the Return of the Resurrected Lord Jesus.

    Ritual and symbol are only as important as is the spirit in which they are participated.
    This ranges from meaningless to bone melting. As it is with all worship, the choice is yours.