Next week begins the season of Lent. Christians mark the beginning of Lent — a season of increased prayer, increased fasting, and increased almsgiving — with the imposition of ashes as a reminder that you are dust and to dust you shall return.
The lessons are:
- Joel 2.12-19
- 2 Peter 1.2-11
- St. Matthew 6.1-6, 16-21
The hymns are:
- 607 “From Depths of Woe I Cry to You,”
- 440 “Jesus, I Will Ponder Now,”
- 419 “Savior, When in Dust to You,”
- 418 “O Lord, Throughout These Forty Days.”
Kids in the Divine Service (What happens on Ash Wednesday?)
You may see something strange happening here in church on Ash Wednesday. You may come forward with your family and friends to receive the sign of the cross on your forehead. The strange part about all of this is that it will be done with the ashes from last year’s Palm Sunday palm branches.
Why do we do this?
Usually when someone gets dirty they realize that they need water to get clean. The ashes that are put on our foreheads int he shape of a cross remind us of our dirty sins that were piled on Jesus when he died on the cross for us. The ash cross on our forehead also reminds us of the first time the sign of the cross was made on our bodies as Holy Baptism. There, in the water of our baptism, we were washed clean with the blood of Jesus, and the dirt of our sins was washed away forever. The ashes of Ash Wednesday can help to remind us of all of this.
At home after the service, when your children are washing their ashes off, remind them once again that we ware washed clean of sin because of our baptism. Jesus did all of this for us through His death on the cross which we prepare for during Lent. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of this time of preparation.