So we begin Lent with the ancient Ashing Service, which marks the first day of Lent, 46 days before Easter. As a season for reflection and for fasting of some description inspired by the life of Jesus who went into the desert to mediate and prayer away from the distractions of life.
The Ashing Service derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a celebration and reminder of our human fragility and mortality. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. So if you have this come earlier (5.20pm) to burn these crosses to be used for the ashing. Ashes were used in ancient times to express mourning. Dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent’s way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults. An ancient example of one expressing one’s penitence is found in the Book of Job. Job says to God: “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. The other eye wandereth of its own accord. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. The prophet Jeremiah, for example, calls for repentance this way: “O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes. The prophet Daniel recounted pleading to God this way: “I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.
So if you are around on Wednesday at 5.30pm, do come and join us.