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ash

Wednesday

The beginning of Lent: A time of Reflection, Confession and Communion

Join the LAC family as we mark the start of the Lenten season with a time of reflection, confession, Communion.

Events for Ash Wednesday

No events have been organized.

What is the meaning and purpose of Ash Wednesday?

In the Christian calendar Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, the season leading up Easter. Observance of Lent is widespread throughout the worldwide Christian community, including Catholic, Orthodox, and most Protestant traditions. Reformers who share in the theological heritage of Lake Avenue Church observed Lent. These include Martin Luther, William Tyndale, and John Calvin. The early Methodists associated with John Wesley also observed Lent.

In more recent years, many non-denominational churches have started to observe Lent as well. Ash Wednesday is an invitation to reflect on our mortality and our morality. On Ash Wednesday, ashes are imposed on the believer’s forehead in the form of a cross. These ashes remind us of our mortality, as words inspired from Ecclesiastes 3:20 are spoken over us: "Remember that you have come from dust, and to dust you will return." Being reminded of our mortality invites us to reflect on our humanity and our limitations. Ash Wednesday invites us to the reality of Psalm 90:12, where Moses prays, “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (NIV).

The ashes also invite us to reflect on our morality because in the Bible ashes are often a sign of repentance. We see this when Job responds to the Lord by saying, “I repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6 NIV). Ashes remind us that we still sin and fall short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23). However, because the ashes are imposed in the form of the cross, they point us to the good news that Jesus came to deliver us from death and save us from our sins. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus meets us at precisely the place we need him the most, delivering us from our mortality and our sinfulness.

As Ash Wednesday commences the Lenten season, many Christians fast or take up new spiritual practices. During Lent, we learn what the Bible means when it says we participate in the death and resurrection of Jesus. We reflect on our lives with open introspection, inviting the Holy Spirit to work deeply within us to transform us more fully into the image of Christ. Lent invites us to remember our mortality and our morality, facing our humanity with courage and striving to grow into holiness, “without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

"Almighty and everlasting God, Who hates nothing that you have made and forgives the sins of all that are repentant; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, fully and honestly lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our fallenness, may obtain from you, the God of all mercy, complete remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

 

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Capilla De Lake