Dies Cinerum – Day of Ashes

Wednesday, February 6, 2008
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Esther 4:1 – When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. (NIV)

One of my favourite pastimes is reading about how the plants of the Bible relate to the history and traditions of our faith. One cannot read about palm trees without discovering the tradition of burning the palm fronds from the previous year's Palm Sunday celebration to make the ashes for the current year's Ash Wednesday services.

We know that in ancient days, people marked times of fasting, prayer, and repentance by placing ashes on their foreheads. Wearing ashes on one's forehead on Ash Wednesday is considered to be a preparation for the forty days of reflection and prayer which are to follow.

The church I attend does not hold a special service on Ash Wednesday calling us to approach the altar and receive a mark of the cross in ashes on our foreheads. We do, however, observe Ash Wednesday as the beginning of Lent. For the next forty days, we are to turn away from the physical and toward the spiritual, approaching Lent on our knees in an attitude of prayer and praise of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 14:11 – In the Scriptures God says, "I swear by my very life that everyone will kneel down and praise my name!" (CEV)

Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for all that You endured on our behalf that we might one day be saved. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Judith Welch <judithwelch12@gmail.com>
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

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