This coming Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Today we call the first day of Lent “Ash Wednesday.” Lent is a 40 day long season of preparation for Easter. For most Christians throughout history it has been a time of self examination and penitence. The celebration goes all the way back to Irenaus of Lyons in the 2nd Century.
Until the 600s, Lent began on Quadragesima (Fortieth) Sunday, but Gregory the Great (c.540-604) moved it to a Wednesday, now called Ash Wednesday, to secure the exact number of 40 days in Lent—not counting Sundays, which were feast days. Gregory, who is regarded as the father of the medieval papacy, is also credited with the ceremony that gives the day its name. As Christians came to the church for forgiveness, Gregory marked their foreheads with ashes reminding them of the biblical symbol of repentance (sackcloth and ashes) and mortality: “You are dust, and to dust you will return” (Gen 3:19). 1
You can read more about the history of lent here.
The Red Door Church will have an Ash Wednesday Service at 7:00 p.m. Hope you can come out.
- Ted Olson, “The Beginning of Lent,” http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2004/lent.html. Accessed on 2/27/2014. ↵
My life is one of contradictions. I’m a southern boy living in northern New England; a boring guy married to super-fun girl; a conservative pastor in a progressive Christian denomination; a changed man in need of change; a sinner loved by a holy and perfect God.