Ash Wednesday | JOY for Today

(Updated 3.9.2023)

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. 

Over a dirt background are the words: "He knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." Psalm 103:14 Ash Wednesday March 2, 2022
Dirt Texture picture by Daniel Smith at Public Domain Pictures

Ash Wednesday Offerings

Did You Know:

  1. 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 mirrors the 40 days Jesus fasted (Matthew 4:1-11) before undergoing Satan's temptation in preparation of his ministry. (
  2. 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. (
  3. 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. (
  4. It is up to each parishioner how long they keep the ashes on? The act of washing off the ashes keeps the ritual between the believer and God while wearing the cross reminds participants to share it with the world. (Learn Religions & Got Questions)
  5. 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:
Other Ash Wednesday facts.

Wolfe Stew Connects

Ash Wednesday, honestly, has never been a Wolfe Stew household observation. In early years, it was marked by fish swimming onto fast food menus. Only in recent years have we started mildly observing Lent, Ash Wednesday merely marking its start. Yet, this time of reflection, preparation, and self-denial is an opportunity to connect with God, to humble ourselves while honoring Him. And this year I am looking forward to connecting with God in this way.

As I get ready to embark on my Lenten journey, I am bracing myself for the challenge and accepting that while I may not always honor my fast, RESTARTING it is acceptable and honorable. Even if you choose not to participate in Lent this year, I hope you know that you, too, deserve a RESTART. Whether it's RESTARTING a goal, a habit, a dream, a skill, a friendship, or a new day, RESTARTS are necessary, admirable, and courageous.

To encourage you in your RESTART, we've made a GROWTH for Today calendar with daily tasks to help you embrace your RESTART. Each day is new, each moment is new, and each breath is good fuel for a RESTART. Know that we are learning to embrace RESTARTS with you.

We'd Love to Know:

If you observe Ash Wednesday or Lent.

Bible Verses to Inspire

  • "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.

Activity Suggestions

Because Ash Wednesday centers on faith-based values, many of these activities are also faith-based. Consider using them with your family, friends, or individually. The one activity that is not faith-based is the first article under the last bullet which reminds us we are all made of stardust. Use it as a reminder that greatness can emerge from the mundane and that we are all connected.

We'd Love to Know: 

Of an Ash Wednesday activity you enjoy.

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,

Red stew bowl with steam rising from top. Wolfe Stew crawled on front.

Find even more JOY for Today in our monthly calendars, holiday, and seasonal posts.


Popular posts from this blog

Proverbs 31: Week 14 | The Wolfe Notes

Proverbs 31: Week 27 | The Wolfe Notes

Proverbs 31: Week 30 | The Wolfe Notes