Today is Ash Wednesday. The ashes for today’s services were prepared by burning the palm branches from last year’s Palm Sunday.
The distant shouts of Hosanna still ring in our memory. But for now, we make a turn.
We have burned the palms and start with ash.
We offer two services today— one at noon and one at 7 pm. The noon service will last about 30 mins. Both services will offer the imposition of ashes. Worshippers will be invited forward and the ashes will be imposed on the forehead or the hand, making the sign of the cross with the thumb.
As we do, we’ll repeat the words of Genesis 3:19: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
In addition, our pancake dinner will be held tonight at 5:45 pm in the Fellowship Hall. And the children are invited to a special service just for them at 5 pm where they will get to learn all about Ash Wednesday and the upcoming season of Lent.
The season of Lent begins today. What is it all about? In its simplest terms, Lent is a journey to Easter.
In roughly 40 days we will shout “He Is Risen!” to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. But our journey necessarily takes us to the cross first.
Lent is a time to once again surrender our lives to God. We journey with Jesus to the cross, thanking him for his sacrifice and freely giving up the things in our lives that keep us disconnected from God.
The journey to the cross isn’t the most comfortable. It’d be much easier to skip right to Easter! But we mustn’t do that.
For now, we are afforded an opportunity to look inward, to identify the areas of our lives that are not quite right, and to make a commitment to return to God.
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
This statement is an acknowledgment of our own mortality. Our lives are held in God’s hands. We may be dust, but we also have the divine Spirit within us. God breathed life into our lungs and God now sustains us all of our days.
It is to God that we return and with God that we journey to the cross, with Easter and resurrection still on the distant horizon.
This Sunday we begin a brand new preaching series titled 40 Days Of Abundant Life.
Throughout the season of Lent, we are going to study all that Jesus said about living this life to the fullest. After all, this is the only life we get to live. Let’s live it with all the zest and passion that God designed it to have.
We don’t want life to feel mundane, simply fulfilling the status quo. Life, abundant life, is about so much more than that.
“I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Abundant life involves living in certain ways, all of which we’ll explore over the next 40 days as we journey to Easter together.