Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent. The forty days of fasting (not counting Sundays) includes the offering of the imposition of ashes on the foreheads of the faithful who desire it. The virtual Ash Wednesday Service will premiere at 10 am on February 17. This year, there will be two options available for receiving ashes while following the pandemic guidelines.
1. There will be a “drive-through” imposition of ashes at the office entrance to the church, following the Virtual Ash Wednesday Service (from 10:45-11:30 am).
2. Ashes may be created and used at home by writing on a small strip of paper something that you wish to repent of, then safely burning the strip of paper and using the cooled ashes to mark your own forehead with the sign of the cross as you say aloud, “Remember that you came from dust, and to dust, you shall return.” There will be a time in the virtual service when the imposition of ashes may be done at home.
A Prayer for Faithfulness at the Beginning of Lent
Loving Lord, at the beginning of this Lenten season, we are met with the challenge of handing over every bit of our lives that do not come from You. To rid ourselves of what clutters our lives, and all that distracts us from the simple truth of Your love for us.
Your prophets have called us to change the way we worship—to make internal sacrifices instead of external ones. To seek justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with You each and every one of our days.
If we don’t give anything up for Lent, then let us at least give up this: that we might cease living in ways that disconnect us from You, for every one of our steps is like a circle around Your temple. Perhaps this Lent, we can give up our way and give ourselves to Your way for us.
So, lead and guide us on this Lenten way. May we walk with Jesus toward the hill just outside of Jerusalem. May we like Him take up our cross and follow, spending each moment of our lives living responsively to You, just as Christ Himself did. For that is the faithful way. Amen.
~ written by Patrick Ryan, Pastor at Kuhn Memorial Presbyterian Church in Barboursville, West Virginia.