If you are unfamiliar with the tradition of beginning Lent with Ash Wednesday or if the practice, for you, is one associated with only certain denominations, I welcome you to reconsider. Ash Wednesday is available for all. A way to mark the beginning of this 40 day journey with humility and awareness.
This is a simple liturgy I have written that can easily be applied to families or practiced on your own. Please gather paper strips, matches or lighter and a vessel that is fire-safe (mason jars work great.) Also have a cloth and some oil available.
If you are finding this liturgy a day or two (or a week) after Ash Wednesday let me say it’s not too late! We are observing Ash Wednesday on Friday this week in our own family.
I am posting our Psalms and The Lord’s Prayer workshop for paid subscribers on Friday. During Lent I will also be hosting a Three Day Workshop on The Last Supper for paid subscribers. This is in addition to the additional posts that I share as a behind the scenes journal of the current manuscript process. Would love to have you join!
Throughout Lent I am offering yearly subscriptions for 50% off the $35 yearly price. Just click the button below to sign up.
May the season of Lent be a period of Quiet and Reflection. May you feel the welcome of it all as we step onto the long road of Lent.
Ash Wednesday Liturgy
We mark the beginning of Lent, a time of self-reflection, penitence, sorrow over sin. We set aside this time to humbly reflect on how short we fall. We remember that we are dust and to dust we will return (Genesis 3:19.) In remembering, we acknowledge that we have much to repent for. Lord we come to you humbly, acknowledging that while we deserve death, you give us life eternal.
This time, set aside, to repent, to confess allows to more fully understand your mercy. God.
On the paper strips write down any sins you would like to confess, asking for forgiveness.
We receive the assurance of the forgiveness of sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus, acknowledging with grief our sins and their cost.
Place strips of paper in jar and allow them to burn.
As they are lit all say, "Let us change our garments to sackcloth and ashes."
Throughout the Bible we see people change into sackcloth and sprinkle ashes on their head as a means of outwardly expressing grief, humility, repentance of sin. Take the moments of the paper burning to reflect on your doing the same today.
Once the ashes are cooled mash them as needed with spoon and then dip finger into ashes. Mark a cross on each other’s forehead (or hand) and repeat the words of Job.
"Therefore I take back my words and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:6
Observe time of silence and reflection.
We conclude Ash Wednesday with hope, knowing that there is much to learn in the 40 days ahead of us, trusting that God will meet us, commune with us and lead us out of the desert.
Wipe away the ash marks with oil and repeat Isaiah 61:3 reminding us of the God who has already provided.
[The Lord has anointed Jesus] to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning and splendid clothes instead of despair. Isaiah 61:3
May we step into Lent with humility, aware of the crown of beauty and righteousness placed upon our heads. Amen.
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Thank you for sharing, this is such a simple and powerful way to think about this season an process today.