Ash Wednesday | JOY for Today
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent: a period of reflection and self-denial in preparation for Easter. While this day is not meant to be JOYful, we know of the JOY that's coming and it soothes our soul. Living in JOY is a way of life, we can be JOYful in periods of mourning and periods of solemn reflection because we know the source of our JOY. Furthermore, periods of self-reflection and self-denial are restorative and redemptive practices that make room for more JOY.
|Dirt Texture picture by Daniel Smith at Public Domain Pictures|
Ash Wednesday Offerings
- Did You Know...
- Wolfe Stew Connects
- Bible Verses
- Activity Suggestions (for families, groups, or individuals)
- Ash Wednesday takes place 40 days before Easter not counting Sundays? It marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting in preparation of Easter that parallels the 40 days Jesus fasted (Matthew 4:1-11) before undergoing Satan's temptation in preparation of his ministry.
- Ash crosses on foreheads represent mortality and need for repentance? Often, the phrase "From dust you came and from dust you will return," (Ecclesiastes 3:20) is recited as the priest, or pastor, draws crosses on foreheads in ashes while the recipient quietly reflects in repentance.
- The ash for the crosses comes from the previous year's Palm Sunday branches? Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem (John 12:12-19) when onlookers shouted "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!" while waving palm branches. This triumphant entry is ironic because this entry to Jerusalem was one that ended in his death.
- Some churches have recipients wash off their ashes before leaving? The act of washing off the ashes symbolizes cleansing of sins while wearing the cross reminds participants to share it with the world.
- Around 76% of Americans do NOT observe Lent? Christianity Daily infers Lent is not as popular as other Christian holidays because it requires sacrifice. But BeliefNet urges all to consider observing lent because sacrifice is good for you.
We'd Love to Know:
If you observe Ash Wednesday or Lent.
- "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Genesis 2:7 KJV
- "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." Genesis 3:19 NIV
- "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:5-6 NIV
- "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." Psalm 103:13-14 NIV
- "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." I John 2:2 NIV
We'd Love to Know:
Which verse you'd choose as your reflection verse for the Lenten season.
- Choose how you'll fast for Lent with Regnare Project where you'll find:
- Ideas on what to fast.
- Tips for the journey.
- Make clean heart soap with Wormy the Helpful Worm at Rotation.org.
- Connect ash to cleansing.
- Study Psalm 51:10: "Create in me a clean heart."
- Make and decorate soap.
- Prepare the "Lent in a Bag" discussion prompts and objects from Building Faith. Objects required:
- Human figure (or wooden clothespin)
- Printable trifold instructions.
- Start a Lent study
- Devote to a 40 day devotional featuring scripture, reflections, and prayers from Christianity.com (email required to download)
- Integrate Bible study, prayer and history with this five-week guide from Baylor.edu's (PDF)
- Study the Easter story with passages to read each week. Study Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, and learn Bible studying tips at Knowable Word.
- Focus on the Lamb with this five-week study from Jesus Walk.
- Remember, we are dust by reading
- "We're all made of stardust. But where does it come from?" by Mike Mcrae at Science Alert
- "The Good that Comes When we Remember We're Dust" by Steve Watson
We'd Love to Know:
We’re excited to share one more day with you and wish you JOY for Today and HOPE for Tomorrow.
Fighting the Good Fight with You,
Find even more JOY for Today in our monthly calendars, holiday, and seasonal posts.