Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, a church holiday typically celebrated by the Roman Catholic tradition. It marks the first day of the lenten season and the beginning of a 46 day period leading up to Christ’s death and resurrection on Easter Sunday. Although the observance of Ash Wednesday is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, there is plenty of evidence to suggest the importance of mourning over one’s sin and repenting to God. Covering oneself in ashes (see Dan. 9:3, Esther 4:3, Jonah 3:6) or likening oneself to ashes (Gen 3:19, Gen 18:27) is a way to submit to the Lord with a penitent heart.
“I had heard reports about you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I reject my words and am sorry for them. I am dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6)
Ash Wednesday is an opportunity for reflection and repentance, guiding your heart into the season of Lent. As we reflect on the death of Jesus, let us also remember that he died that we might be free from sin. May Psalm 51:1-13 be a guide for you today:

Be gracious to me, God, according to your faithful love; according to your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion. Completely wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. Against you — you alone — I have sinned and done this evil in your sight. So you are right when you pass sentence; you are blameless when you judge. Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me. Surely you desire integrity in the inner self, and you teach me wisdom deep within.

Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Turn your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt. God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit. Then I will teach the rebellious your ways, and sinners will return to you.

(all material taken from Christian Standard Bible, Ash Wednesday Resource, February 26, 2020)