Pastor’s Corner: Ash Wednesday can be meaningful to non-Catholics, too
Next Wednesday, March 5, there is a good chance you’ll see a co-worker or someone at school or at the store walking around with ashes on their forehead. So, what’s up with that?
March 5 is Ash Wednesday this year, the day that marks the beginning of Lent a period of fasting and reflection leading up to Easter. The days gets its name (creatively enough) from the practice of placing ashes on one’s forehead as a celebration and reminder of human mortality and as a sign of repentance. Through the placing of ashes on our foreheads we are reminded of the frailty of life, God’s call to follow, and the good news that comes at Easter — that good conquers evil, that life triumphs death.
Historically Lent was a time of fasting and preparation for those who were preparing to be baptized. Today many Christians choose to use the 40 days as a time of reflection, prayer, or fasting (sometimes for a fixed period of time and sometimes from a certain thing) as a way of preparing their hearts and lives for the celebration of Easter.
Some people today believe that Ash Wednesday and Lent exlusively are Roman Catholic practices/traditions, but I believe they can be meaningful for all people seeking to cultivate a (deeper) relationship with God in Christ.
This Ash Wednesday I’d love to share a prayer with you and provide you the opportunity to have ashes placed on your forehead to mark the beginning of a journey through Lent. From 7-8:30 a.m., I’ll be in the Chapel at Tonganoxie UMC, from 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. at Jammin’ Java and we’ll have a service of worship at 7 p.m. in our chapel.
If you’re interested in coming by the church or Jammin’ Java I’ll be reading and waiting for you. At Jammin’ Java I’ll have a table and invite you to sit with me for a few minutes and share any prayer concerns that you might have. I’ll pray for you and then place ashes on your forehead in the sign of a cross.
— Clinger is pastor at Tonganoxie United Methodist Church.