Ash Wednesday Service
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. Lent is the season of preparation for Easter. It starts 40 days before Easter (not counting the Sundays), so that puts Ash Wednesday on February 14th as Easter is April 1st.
In Lent, Christians seek to follow God more ably and closely. Some fast to grow a deeper reliance on the Lord. Some concentrate on their studies of the Word to understand more of who God is and how He wants His people to serve. Some take up acts of charity to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and to sow His presence into the world.
Ash Wednesday receives its name as Christians receive ashes in the sign of the cross on their forehead. This is a reminder that sin brings death according to the Bible, and in our sin, we are separated from God. Without God’s intervention, we would be eternally separated from Him. The ashes remind us that we came from the dust and to the dust we will return [Genesis 3:19; Job 34:15; Psalm 104:29; Ecclesiastes 3:20].
However, that is not the end. We are not hopeless. Yes, we are marked by the ash/dust, but we have a Savior. He intervened. If you believe in Christ, you have been marked (sealed) by Him and have the promise of a new life here and an eternal life with Him [Ephesians 1:13]. That is why on Ash Wednesday that we partake of Holy Communion. It reminds us that Christ has done the work for us and we are reconciled to God through the shed blood of Christ.
Our service will not end there. Before we depart, we will anoint people with oil. Anointing is a sign of God’s blessing on His people. Even more, we find joy in our service to God. While Lent may be a season of fasting, service, and sacrifice, true believers see that it is a joy to serve as our spirits grow into Christlikeness in these times [James 1:2-4]. Also, Jesus commanded that while we may be suffering spiritually, we never put on a show for others [Matthew 6:16-18].