Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.
Thanks be to God.
What a strange litany, giving thanks for our mortality! On Ash Wednesday, at almost any Christian church around the world, some version of the above litany is spoken as each person receives the imposition of ashes.
Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent with a public act of confession and contrition. Acknowledging that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we stand in solidarity as fellow creatures before our Creator, acutely aware of our mortality. In the face of our transience, we pledge ourselves anew to live unto God’s Word in Jesus Christ, the eternal Word that remains forever.
Thus begins the Lenten season.
The liturgical season of Lent is 40 days (plus Sundays), a reflection of Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness. Lent is a season of anticipation, but it is more commonly referred to as a season of wilderness or of repentance. The word repent means to turn or to change. We begin the season with the ashes of death and slowly turn toward a resurrection life. We begin with the sobering reality of our mortality and we turn toward Christ, who is the way, and the truth, and the life everlasting.
Lent is a time in which Christians refrain from pronouncing Alleluias, devote themselves to self-examination, prayer and sometimes fasting. When you were younger, perhaps you gave up something for Lent each year…this self-denial was a way of both acknowledging Jesus’ sacrifice and focusing on our own limitations and mortality. Perhaps this year you will not give up something, but take up a new practice, or a new way of engaging with your community, as an acknowledgment of and commitment to the transformative life to which Jesus Christ calls His disciples.
You are invited to begin this season together, gathering in Wilton Hall at 5:30 for a soup supper – please bring a soup to share. Our service of worship, which includes the imposition of the ashes, will be at 7pm in the Sanctuary (accessible by Zoom for those who aren’t able to attend in person).
With deep gratitude for our shared life together,