Why Ashes?


“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:3 (NIV)

Have you ever wondered why today is called Ash Wednesday?  Today is the first day of Lent, which  is the forty day period (excluding Sundays) of the church year that begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes with the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. The Bible tells us that Jesus spent forty days alone with God in the wilderness in preparation for His public ministry.

On Ash Wednesday, ashes, which are traditionally from the burned palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday service, are placed on one’s forehead in the sign of a cross.  The ashes symbolize mourning and repentance for sin.  In allowing a cross of  ashes to be placed on our forehead,  we acknowledge that we are in need of God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness and that we have hope in the gift of his Son Jesus Christ.

Some people choose to give up or add something to their life during the Lenten Season as a way to limit distractions and turn their attention and focus more fully on God.  This year, I saw another friend post on Facebook that she was taking a break from it for the Lenten Season.  When I read it, I immediately knew this was what I needed to do this year too.  It has become a bit of a time waster for me and after Jules post on stepping away from technology, I thought it would be the perfect thing for me to give up for the Lenten Season.  It has only been one day, but it feels great to have a break from this distraction in my daily life.

How about you?  Are you giving up or adding anything to your life for this Lenten Season?