WHAT IS ASH WEDNESDAY?
Ash Wednesday is a Christian Holy Day of fasting and prayer. The Holy Day falls on the first day of Lent, the six weeks of penitence before easter. The day is traditionally observed by Western Christians.
Today we observe Ash Wednesday and the first day of Lent which marks Lenten. Christians all over the world will all collectively join in daily devotional prayer. This is the time where Christians vow to make specific sacrifices during Lent and would continue until Easter/Resurrection Sunday.
Ash Wednesday derives its name from the placing of repentance ashes on the foreheads of individuals to either the words “Repent. “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” -Ecclesiastes 3:20 KJV The ashes are prepared by burning palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday.
Although the observance of Ash Wednesday is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, there is plenty of evidence to suggest the importance of mourning over one’s sin and repenting to God. Covering oneself in ashes (see Dan. 9:3, Esther 4:3, Jonah 3:6) or likening oneself to ashes (Gen 3:19, Gen 18:27) is a way to submit to the Lord with a penitent heart.
“I had heard reports about you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I reject my words and am sorry for them. I am dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6)
Ash Wednesday is an opportunity for God’s people to repent and reflect by guiding your heart into the season of Lent. Jesus died for us on the cross so let us all reflect and remember that he died that we might be free from sin. It’s my prayer that Psalm 51:1-13 be a guide for you today:
Be gracious to me, God, according to your faithful love; according to your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion. Completely wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. Against you — you alone — I have sinned and done this evil in your sight. So you are right when you pass sentence; you are blameless when you judge. Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me. Surely you desire integrity in the inner self, and you teach me wisdom deep within. Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Turn your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt. God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit. Then I will teach the rebellious your ways, and sinners will return to you.