Ash Wednesday, in the western church, begins the season of Lent – a 40-day season of penitent contemplation of the Passion of Jesus Christ.
Ash Wednesday is not recognized as a “Holy Day of Obligation” and is not spoken about in the Bible, but comes from references to sackcloth and ashes in repentance and mourning.
In fact, the first real records we have of Ash Wednesday observance is during the 8th century – almost 1,000 years after the birth of Christ. Neither is the observance of the season of Lent a biblical mandate. We do know, however, that from very early in our history, these 40 days were spent as a time of fasting and repentance by the catechumens (converts) preparing for their baptisms at first light on Easter Sunday. The Church would walk alongside them, both in solidarity, and in preparation to renew their own baptismal vows. Let us celebrate, then, not the form (we’re not fancy – we are Baptists – this is a different liturgy than that to which we are accustomed to), but the purpose – to enter into a season of waiting, of repentance, and of renewal in the Story of God.
Please join us as we begin the Lenten season on March 1 at 7pm with a service of repentance and contemplation with Resurrection Life NYC and Redeemer East Side churches. For childcare, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For service details, contact email@example.com.