Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance and it marks the beginning of Lent. Ashes were used in ancient times, according to the Bible, to express mourning. Dusting oneself with ashes was a way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults.
We didn’t have a service with Ashes at Christ Church today, we did though celebrate communion together. It was a simple service to mark the beginning of Lent. Traditionally Lent is the preparation of the believer—through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial—for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The 40 days of Lent correspond significantly (although not chronologically) with the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert after his baptism, and it is perhaps in this tradition that we may find Lent’s most useful significance for us today. In times of so much (even given the current financial situation) the reminder that there is more to life than achievement and acquisition is a timely one.