Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season of Lent, the 40-day period that is reminiscent of Christ’s 40 days of temptation in the wilderness. We are reminded of the temptation that our Lord endured during this time of solitude.
We can’t help but think of our own temptations. The times that we have given in to what Satan tempts us to do. The times that we fail. Ashes are mentioned throughout the Bible as what people put on when they were sorry for their sins.
“So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.” ~ Daniel 9:3
Putting on ashes showed that a person was sorry for their sin. They showed a person’s repentance for their sin. As we put on ashes, we reflect that we are sorry for what we have done, and for what we have left undone. The times that we have not loved God with our whole heart.
When we put on ashes now, we put them on in the sign of the cross. A sign showing who took away our sins. A sign showing where our assurance is. A sign showing who we are in Christ and who Christ has made us to be. He took on our sin and carried it to the cross where He died. We march toward Good Friday with our eyes on the cross, where Christ gave His life for us, but we also look towards the empty tomb, where Christ was raised to new life for us. The ashes show our sinfulness, but also reflect how we were made new as well. Only through Christ’s death and resurrection.
In Jesus’ Name,
Vicar Andrew Wolfgram