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Ash Wednesday

For Christians, Easter is the biggest event in history. The season of lent is a way to be intentional about orienting our hearts toward Jesus as we lead up to the celebration of his resurrection. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Join us for a short traditional lunchtime service to begin this season!

When: Wednesday, February 14 | 12:00PM in the Fellowship Hall.

*Lunch service not provided.

For those who are new to this practice, here is little background:
This will be our second year of participating in Ash Wednesday. Lent is an ancient Christian practice dating back to the second century. As Christianity became legal in the fourth century, lent became more formalized as a forty-day period leading up to Easter; at first, specifically for those who would be baptized on Easter, then part of the annual rhythm for all Christians. A few hundred years later there was a small change, in which every Sunday became a feast day, mini-Easters, and so the start of the fast became a Wednesday, hence. To mark this season of reflection and repentance, ashes are placed upon our foreheads, signifying repentance and reminding us of our frailty and our need for a savior. Ashes as a sing of mourning and repentance are common throughout the scriptures and are a powerful symbolic way to express our repentance and gratitude for God’s gracious forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Purpose: Ash Wednesday and lent have two purposes. The first is a chance for intentional self-examination, repentance and renewal and acts of service. The second is to journey with Jesus towards Easter.
As Robert Webber put it, “Lent begins a very intense period of personal spiritual examination, which leads toward renewal and deeper faith. Lent is a time to reflect deeply on my personal relationship to Christ. It is a different spiritual experience than that of Advent, Christmas, or Epiphany. During Lent I am called upon to enter into the sufferings of Jesus and to prepare for his death. For me, this discipline has made Holy Week and Easter an experience of spiritual vigor and joy that goes far beyond my old attitude of “Oops, here it is Easter, already.” Preparation for Easter that takes me into the tomb has given me a much more vital spiritual participation in the resurrection of Christ, and a deeper sense and experience of that resurrection joy."
Do I have to fast? Not at all. Many people, however, do choose to give up something during this period. It is usually something that while not bad in itself, takes our focus away from God. They use that newly freed up space for prayer, reading scripture or acts of service. In that sense, lent may be a time of adding something into your life instead of giving something up. You are adding space to intentionally seek a deeper walk with Christ. Last year as a church, we read through the New Testament together leading up to Easter.
We aren’t catholic, why do we practice lent? Lent isn’t just for catholics. Our brothers and sisters in Christ from a whole swath of Christian traditions (Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics, Anglicans, Reformed churches, and an increasing number of Non-Denominational Churches), observe Lent. They do because they had found it to be a powerful way to pursue and encounter Christ. And that is at the heart of it. In everything we do we seek to encounter the fullness of Christ and to be transformed more and more into his image by the power of the Holy Spirit. If lent can assist towards that end, we encourage you to engage with that.
We also recognize that for some, lent brings you back to previous experiences of church that observed the traditions but there was no life in Christ there, just the remnants of tradition. If you find yourself to be in position, know that this isn’t required or even expected, but simply offered for those that have found it helpful.