Ash Wednesday: February 17th 2021

 

 

Each year, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. This year it falls on February 17th. It is always 46 days before the celebration of Easter.

    Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The 40-day period represents Christ’s time of temptation in the wilderness, where he fasted and where Satan tempted him. Lent asks believers to set aside a time each year for similar fasting, marking an intentional season of focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection.

  Traditionally people have given up something such as alcohol or chocolate which isn’t a bad discipline. Perhaps give up screen time instead? The whole aim of Lent is for us to focus more on Jesus – to discover more about him and to give more of ourselves to him.

  Normally we have marked Ash Wednesday with a service of Holy Communion which has included ‘ashing’.  The ashes may come from the burning of the previous year’s palm crosses but we’ve tended to buy the ashes ready to use. They are mixed with a little oil and then the sign of the cross made on the person’s forehead. When we come forward to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday, we are saying that we are sorry for our sins, and that we want to use the season of Lent to correct our faults, purify our hearts, control our desires and grow in holiness so we will be prepared to celebrate Easter with great joy.

  This year, as with so many things, Covid advice changes what we can do. You won’t be surprised to learn that we can’t touch anyone and make the sign of the cross on them. We would be allowed to sprinkle ash on their heads but, having discussed this, we feel that isn’t a particularly hopeful way forward.

  So for this year, we will mark Ash Wednesday with a Zoom service at 7.30pm. Do ask for the link if you would like to join us. It will be a more formal service than the Sunday afternoon Zooms with a ‘proper’ sermon. Do join in and start Lent well