Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ash Wednesday

We begin our journey to Easter with the sign of ashes, an ancient sign, speaking of the frailty and uncertainty of human life, and marking the penitence of the community as a whole.  
I invite you, in the name of the Lord, to observe a holy Lent by 
  • self-examination
  • penitence
  • prayer
  • fasting
  • almsgiving
  • reading and meditating on the Word of God (The Book of Alternative Services, p281
The Collect for Ash Wednesday

Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer calls the faithful to pray this every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the day until Holy Week.

Why Observe Ash Wednesday and Lent?

Good thoughts from Glen Packiam over at CHURCHLEADERS.COM here (H/T Andy Read on Facebook):
The bottom line is: no, you don't need to care about the Church Calendar. You don't have to celebrate Lent or participate in Ash Wednesday.
These are not requirements or laws. But then again, you don't need to have a date night with your wife; you don't need to have family vacations. But rhythms and routines are ways of reinforcing a desire. It's because I want to nurture my relationship with my wife that we have date nights; it's because I want our family to be connected that we take vacations together, and have family traditions. In the same way, it's because I want to nurture my relationship with Christ and because I want to be connected to the Body of Christ that I am embrace the "family traditions" of the liturgical year. 
So, the liturgical year is not a requirement, but neither are they "empty rituals." They are sacred rhythms, routines that reinforce our desire to follow Christ and become like Him.
Reinforcing Our Desire: Ash Wednesday as Part of Our Sacred Rhythm

We worship this evening at 7pm with our sisters and brothers from Unity Lutheran, All Saints and St Ambrose. We will receive the ancient Sign of Ashes and enjoy Holy Communion. The preachers will be Canadian Forces Padre Mike Peterson.