february 14 • online gathering
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, which is the Church calendar’s season of preparation to celebrate Good Friday and Easter. Traditionally, the Lent season is a time of remembering our human limitations and turning to God in dependence. Ash Wednesday, then, gives us opportunity to remember, as Genesis 3:19 tells us, that “You are dust, and to dust you will return.” For many of us, the reminder of our mortality may seem morbid, but in the Bible, at least, such thoughts are motivating. Whether we care to admit it, our days are, in fact, numbered, which offers reason to the godly to use them wisely. Indeed, in Psalm 90, Moses prays, “Teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Contrary to the delay and distraction that divert our attention from God’s call on our life, Ash Wednesday presents us with a very simple truth: each day God is eager to meet us in our humility, just as he invites us to meet him in his.
ONLINE GATHERING INSTRUCTIONS
On Ash Wednesday, we encourage you to view this video gathering that will lead you and whoever you invite (family, friends, neighbors) through a very simple “at home” Ash Wednesday service with worship, reflection, and teaching.
PREPARATION OF ASHES
Empty the provided ashes into a small, shallow bowl and add a very small amount of oil (olive oil works well) until the consistency is a thick paste. You will be prompted on when to apply them during the service.
APPLICATION OF ASHES
Once you have mixed the ash and oil into a paste, put a small amount of it on one of your fingers and apply it in the shape of a cross. Don’t worry if the result is unrecognizable–in our experience, the cross shape usually comes out looking like a bit of a blob, but it’s the symbolism that counts. Some people like to wear the ashes for the rest of the day as a reminder of mortality, while others prefer to wash it off after application. From our point of view, either option is fine–after all, it’s the focus of our heart that matters.