The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, which this year is on March 1. To begin the season, First Presbyterian Church will hold an Ash Wednesday worship service at 7 p.m.  in the sanctuary. (If you’d like to fellowship over dinner prior to the service, join us at 6 p.m. for Lentil soup.) The service will include an imposition of ashes and communion. Here are some common questions and answers about the season, thanks to Pastor Jon Heeringa and Director of Worship Shannon Kiser.

What is Ash Wednesday?

It is the first day of Lent in the Christian calendar. It occurs 46 days before Easter and can fall as early as February 4 or as late as March 10. When churches celebrate the day, it usually includes the imposition of ashes and communion. 

Why the name Ash Wednesday?

The name comes from the practice of using ashes made from palm branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday to place on the foreheads of participants during the service. The ashes are a reminder of the words in Genesis 3 that remind us that we are of dust, “and to dust you shall return.” This is to help us remember our sinfulness and need of a Redeemer.

What marks our worship service on Ash Wednesday?

The goal of worshipping on Ash Wednesday is to meditate on our human condition and sin, renew our commitment to repentance, and remember with confidence and thanksgiving what Christ has done.  Ash Wednesday worship will be characterized by the imposition of ashes, traditionally symbolizing frailty, sadness or mourning, judgment, and repentance, all in an effort to remember who and whose we are.

What is Lent?

Lent is the time from Ash Wednesday until Easter (this year on April 16). It is considered a time of reflection and preparation for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter.

How else will we mark this season?

During the Lenten Sundays leading up to Easter Sunday (April 16), Pastor Jon Heeringa will be preaching a sermon series on evangelism. The series will be based in part on the book, “I Once Was Lost.” Pastor Jon’s goal during the series is to help us consider ways to help others join us on our journey of faith.

How can I be preparing for Ash Wednesday and Lent?

Begin to examine yourself daily in both outward actions and inward thoughts, and acknowledge your need for Christ.

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