This Ash Wednesday, we are spiritually stronger than ever.
If you haven’t seen, I updated my hair with an ashy color. As the season changes in the church calendar, some of us prepare to give something up – or take something on. I plan to give up processed sugar for Lent 2021. Since I’ve moved home, my mom has been baking (recipes to come) and I realize that I’m eating sugar on a regular basis. For the sake of my skin & general wellness, this isn’t a practice I want to continue in my life. I just enjoy having a treat here and there, and think that it would be a nice change for me to take a break from sugar for forty days and forty nights.
What are you plans for Lent 2021?
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, which falls on February 17th this year. The ceremony includes having blessed ashes placed onto foreheads in the shape of a cross. Traditionally, ashes used are from the palms of the prior Palm Sunday – when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey before His crucifixion.
“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.“
Although this year, ashes won’t be directly placed onto our foreheads, we are blessed with a special opportunity – to move beyond religion. Beyond the traditions. Beyond the idolatry. Beyond the things of this world. For when we truly know Christ, we know that all of this is impermanent – that it will all fall away eventually, and that it was never all that important to begin with.
Ash Wednesday calls us to be grounded in the fact that we are really nothing but dust. Removing the things that we love can be difficult, but it can also be a strengthening – and often necessary – exercise.
Ash Wednesday is known as a day of repentance, when Christians often confess their sins and profess their devotion to God. I find that this is something I need to do daily (if not more). Taking space and time to be with the Lord on this holiday, and recognizing all the areas that we have fallen short, can help us reframe our focus as we prepare for Easter. Whether that means working on taking care of yourself, developing who you are in relationship, or opening your heart up more, I know that whatever challenge you take on will help you grow as you should this season.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
The Confession of Sin
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Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.Genesis 3:17-19