By Timothy, The Rope Contributor
Two days ago was Ash Wednesday. At my church we follow the liturgical church calendar, so Ash Wednesday, Lent and Holy Week are really big deals for us. The Ash Wednesday service starts Lent, a 40-day fast. The service is incredibly solemn with very little music, long stretches of silence and multiple prayers proclaiming our guilt. We also do what is called the “imposition of ashes.” Each member walks forward and a pastor draws the cross on your forehead with ashes from burning the palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. The pastor says the following line as he draws the cross:
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
This comes from Genesis 3:19, where God is cursing humanity due to the fall into sin. It is an important reminder.
As humans, we are all too quick to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. Ash Wednesday, when practiced in conjunction with Lent and Holy Week and the rest of the church calendar, is a poignant reminder that we deserve the wrath of God. Lent is a reminder that all gifts come from God, and that He can take those gifts away at any time.
But Easter Sunday is a massive celebration for us. We gather together and have a feast for breakfast before church. We have a loud, beautiful worship service filled with music. We are reminded that Christ died and rose again for our sin.
This season of the church calendar is necessarily a dark one, but it is one that reminds us of the graciousness of God. It’s leading up to a beautiful celebration that reminds us that Christ died for us despite our unworthiness.