Groundhog day made the paper, and Monday is Presidents’ Day, then we get green beer and corned beef with cabbage in mid March, and the next Spring holiday that most people recognize is Easter, but leading up to Easter is the season of Lent. Some people ignore Lent, some think it’s only for certain religions, some people go through the motions, and others embrace the season.
Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, which this year falls on March 1st. This marks a period of 40 days (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter, it’s a somber time of reflection, repentance, and penance, often marked by periods of fasting. Lent includes Maundy Thursday with foot washing, and a celebration of the institution of the communion meal. It also includes the commemoration of Good Friday, the day that Jesus was crucified–for our sin.
Many Protestant churches ignore some of the richness of the Lenten liturgies, but lately more and more evangelical protestant churches are resurrecting the ancient rites of the Christian Church.
I’m one who enjoys the significance of Ash Wednesday, with the imposition of ashes in a sense symbolizing the fact that we are all in this sin business together. Of course the ashes do not identify us as sinners beyond redemption, they don’t give us a pass to sin freely. In the context of the Ash Wednesday service, they also signify that we’re sinners saved by grace. Saved by faith in Jesus the Christ, who was crucified, and then resurrected.
So on Ash Wednesday, Mar 1, at 12 noon, we’ll have a special service with ashes and communion. The service is open to all. Ask a friend to join you. Who knows? you might be surprised to find that if you invite someone, they might surprise you and show up.