What are Ash Wednesday and Lent?
For any who may not be familiar, Ash Wednesday began as a reminder to the church. At the beginning of his ministry, Christ went to the desert for 40 days, resisting temptations, praying, and fasting -- with us constantly on his mind. In the same way, during the season of Lent, we choose to resist temptations, pray, and fast -- with Christ constantly on OUR minds.
Ash Wed. is a time when we (1.) remember our mortality and (2.) express sorrow for our sins. As you read the scriptures, passages like when David tore his close and put ashes on his head to show remorse or sorrow are very much near the root of the sentiment found in Ash Wednesday and Lent.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues for 40 days -- not including Sundays. Because of what Christ did on the cross for us, we ALWAYS celebrate the fact that he is risen on Sundays. For one day each week, we set aside everything (even during Lent) and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus!
Ash Wednesday is sometimes referred to as the other side of baptism. In baptism, we turn from our sins, die to ourselves, and are raised to new life in Jesus. During this season, the ashes remind us that the cross of Christ is the only solution to our issues of sin and death, but thanks be to God the cross is MORE THEN SUFFICIENT!
Ash Wednesday and Lent are unapologetically CHRISTIAN. Whether Baptist, Nazarene, Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, or Pentecostal, the church globally recognizes these days, these actions, and this desire to be raised to life in Christ, both now and for eternity.
What shoul I expect at this service?
The Ash Wednesday service has a simple format. There are two main activites that occur (see below). One thing to remember is that Ash Wednesday is a call to take an honest look at the heart and realign ourselves with God.
But, while this occasion calls for a somber and sober tone, this is NOT a time for discouragement, dispair, or guilt. While we pause to examine our lives, we always do so in light of the overwhelming love that is shown to us by God.
From 7:00 - 7:30, we will have a brief service that will include scripture, a few songs, and a 10-15 minute message on the purpose of the seasion.
From 6:30 - 8:00, the worship center will be open for people to enter. You will find various stations around the room. You are encouraged to go to any (or all) of the stations. Each station will have a brief exercise for you to complete, People are encouraged to spend time at there, reflecting on the focus of that particular station, and completing the activity suggested. Journaling and prayer are encouraged.
People are welcome to experience these two things in either order. Come early and finish the night with the service. Or come for the service and then experience the stations. Both are acceptable.