Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
With that in mind I thought I would offer to you a "Lent Explained."
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." These words from the 51st Psalm lead us towards a longing with God that begins in the penitential season of Lent. We lament our sins and ask God to show us unmerited forgiveness. And so we begin our annual pilgrimage through Lent.
Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock. Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts received instruction in the Christian faith and prepared for baptism. By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus' withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days. Most churches that have a continuous history extending back before The Great Reformation observe Lent.
Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance and it marks the beginning of Lent. Ashes were used in ancient times, according to the Bible, to express mourning. Dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent's way of expressing sorrow for their sins and faults. During the service on this day, ashes are imposed on the foreheads of the faithful in the shape of a cross. The act echoes the ancient tradition of throwing ashes over one's head to signify repentance before God. When the ashes are applied the priest reminds us all, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
May each of you embark upon a Holy Lent that leads you to a deeper understanding and a realization of God in your life and what you might do for yourself in rediscovering yourself.
See ya Sunday, and next Wednesday!
**On Ash Wednesday, Fr. Gary will impose ashes from 7-8:30 in the church as people arrive. At noon, All Saints hosts the Community Ash Wednesday service and at 7 PM All Saints will have the Prayer Book Ash Wednesday Liturgy.
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