Ash Wednesday is the first day of the Christian season called Lent. Lent originated in the 4th century, and was initially a time of preparation for those being baptized at Easter. Since baptism is an act of introduction into a community of faith, the entire community was called to this "time of preparation." Additionally, those people who had been removed from the fellowship of the church (for a number of reasons that are not particularly important for us to get into at this time) were also called to this time of self-examination, prayer, fasting, and introspection before their re-introduction to the church.
The ashes symbolize our humility before God, and our recognition that we are mortal. It is a time when we reflect on what we need to change in our lives in order to live responsibly and lovingly as a member of the created world. I hope you'll join me as we look more deeply at the observance of Lent over the next 40 days, take a fearless moral inventory of our lives, and look for ways to find more love, peace, and fulfillment in our lives. I look forward to making this journey with each of you.
Teresa Angle-Young is a pastor who is simply seeking God, loving neighbors, and trying to follow Jesus.
[Originally published March 1, 2017]