Ash Wednesday and Lent
Lent is the period of 40 days (not including Sundays) which starts on Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. It is traditionally a time of fasting and reflection. The name ‘Ash’ Wednesday is to do with getting things right between us and God and the tradition goes back to the Old Testament.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites would cover their head with ashes, or even rend their clothes, as a sign of their repentance and acknowledgement of sin. The early Christian church adopted the custom of sprinkling ashes and started to do this at the beginning of Lent. And so Ash Wednesday became known as either the ‘beginning of the fast’ or ‘the day of the ashes’.
The custom of ‘ashing’ was abolished at the Reformation, though the old name for the day remained. Today, throughout the Church of England, receiving the mark of ashes on one’s forehead is optional. Sometimes, as at St Peter’s, a branch used on Palm Sunday the year before is burned to create the ashes for the Ash Wednesday service.
The Ash Wednesday service at St Peter’s will take place on Wednesday 1st March at 7.30pm; all welcome.
Ash Wednesday and the period of Lent is a good time for us to consider our thoughts and actions, and admit when we have made mistakes. Why not deal with these mistakes this month and put it all behind you. God is inviting you to come to him this Lent. What a wonderful offer! Make the most of it, and remember how the prodigal son was welcomed back by his compassionate father.
St Peter’s will be organising some small groups to meet each week during Lent to follow a 5 week programme of Bible study. These weekly meetings will be an opportunity to meet with other people and discuss the Bible in an informal and thought-provoking way. The Lent groups will start during the week commencing 6th March.
To join one of the groups, contact Bill Henderson, the church office, email us or look out for the sign-up sheet in the noticeboard church.