Each year, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of our Lenten journey. On this day, we confess our sin, remember our mortality, and reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Many congregations across denominations hold an annual Ash Wednesday service, in which the imposition of ashes is observed. Palm branches from the previous year are burned, creating ash that is mixed with oil and used to make the sign of the cross on the foreheads of worshipers. While applying the ashes, the minister says in hushed tones, “Remember that you are dust, and that to dust you shall return.”
Most of us do not like to be reminded of our sin or our need for forgiveness, our mortality or Jesus’ death on the cross. It is humbling for us to practice confession and to receive God’s forgiveness. Such humility, though, is exactly the point. If we are to progress in our relationship with God, we must trust God’s purposes for our lives. And to trust in God’s purposes requires us to humble ourselves before the Lord.
Let us pray: Dear God, help us to be more humble. Remind us that all that we are and all that we have comes from you. Today, we dedicate our lives to your purposes. Cleanse us from sin and fashion us in your image. We pray these things in the name of Jesus, who journeys with us these forty days and through every peak and valley of our lives. Amen.
Yours in Christ,