Ash Wednesday.

Lent is the six week period leading up to Easter.

Lent is more frequently seen as a time of solemn observance and preparation for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter. From its start on Ash Wednesday until its conclusion on Easter Sunday

Lent invites us to make our minds and hearts ready for remembering Jesus’ life, death and body resurrection.

Sundays during Lent are very important to Christians around the world. Where the Monday to Saturday of each of the six weeks are concerned with fasting and abstinence, the Sunday is a celebration symbolic of Christ’s resurrection. Instead of fasting, Christians hold feasts in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice. The fourth and sixth Sundays are quite important – the fourth because it is Mothering Sunday (Mother’s Day) and the sixth because it’s Palm Sunday.

Ash Wednesday begins Lent. The day gets its name from the traditional blessing of the ashes taken after the burning of Palm branches (or crosses made from Palm leaves) from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebrations. In some churches the ashes are used to draw a cross on the head of people to mark the beginning of their Lent fast. The drawing of a cross is often done while repeating the words “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15) or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week – the last week of Lent leading up to Easter. On Palm Sunday Christians everywhere remember Jesus’ triumphant arrival in Jerusalem. Church services will often include a procession of palm branches, symbolic of the ones laid at Jesus’ feet as he rode into the city. Palm crosses will also be distributed on this day, to be kept until the following year’s Ash Wednesday as a reminder of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Palm branches can be quite hard to come across in colder climates like here in the UK, so many people choose to use branches from native trees instead, with willow, olive, box and yew branches all being common replacements.

As Holy Week draws to a close and Easter approaches, we have Holy Wednesday, commemorating Judas Iscariot’s intent to betray Jesus; Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Last Supper Jesus shared with his disciples in which he predicts his betrayal by the following denial by Peter; and Good Friday, the day on which Christians around the world remember Jesus’ crucifixion and burial.

With Good Friday over, Christians look forward to Easter Sunday, the day on which Jesus rose from his tomb.

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ” (Mark 16:5-7) (See: https://40acts.org.uk/about/what-is-lent/. I have used the information on their website.)

I have started with a “Word for you”, a short word every day to help us to focus on Jesus during the Lent time.

May God bless you.

5 thoughts on “Ash Wednesday.

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