I took two pictures this week: not worthy of a Wordless Wednesday post, so I decided to skip it this week.
Instead, I’m writing on Ash Wednesday because that’s what today is. It’s the kick off to the Lenten season, the 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays).
Why do I celebrate Ash Wednesday?
Ash Wednesday helps us get in the mood for Lent. It reminds us that we are sinful and unclean (Psalm 51) and reminds us that we are created from dust (Genesis 2:7) and that we will return to dust (Genesis 3:19). It also reminds us of our salvation in Jesus Christ because of his sacrifice.
Many people who celebrate Ash Wednesday will receive ashes on their foreheads in the sign of the cross. As the pastor puts those ashes on, he’ll usually say, “For dust you are and to dust you will return.” This practice reminds us of our sin and the death we will face (unless, of course, Christ returns first) because of that sin. Those words are first spoken to Adam after he sinned and ate fruit from the tree God told him not to eat. This act brought death to the world. We all inherit that sin from Adam, but then we also do way too much sinning on our own. Because of that, death is something we face all the time.
Sounds pretty terrible and hopeless, doesn’t it?
But the cool part, the best part, is that the ashes are in the sign of the cross. This is not just because it’s a neat design. The sign of the cross reminds us of Christ’s sacrifice and our redemption through him and his work.
We are sinful. Death is ugly, unnatural, and real. Thank God for Jesus who redeems us from our sin and purifies us from our sins, so that in him, we inherit eternal life with our Heavenly Father.
Image taken from Catholic.org. “Ash Wednesday.”