Lent begins Wednesday, March 1
Lent, the 40-day (excluding Sundays) liturgical season preceding Easter is the time when the Church focuses more intently on Christ’s journey to, and self-giving sacrifice upon, the cross.
It is also traditionally a time for individuals to enter into more intense reflection and to renew helpful spiritual disciplines such as the reading of and meditation upon the Bible, prayer, and acts of charity. Some find it helpful to adopt some form of self-denial (such as “fasting”) to under-gird their other disciplines and/or to be a reminder to themselves of the supreme sacrifice and self-denial of Christ.
The first day of Lent – Ash Wednesday – thus is named because of the ancient practice of worshipers receiving upon their foreheads the sign of the cross in ashes with God’s words to Adam after he had sinned: “You are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen. 3:19). This stark reminder of our mortality is appropriate for the beginning of Lent which will conclude with the image and reminder of Jesus nailed to the cross…dying… lifeless…taken down and buried. All this to remove from us the sin and guilt which are, ultimately, the cause of our mortality.
But then Lent transitions into Easter which assures the believer in Christ that the “dust” of his/her mortal body will be resurrected at Jesus’ return to live with God and all the saints and angels forever!
The Ash Wednesday Divine Service will be held at Mountainside at 6:30pm on March 1.