The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, which this year is on February 14. To begin the season, First Presbyterian Church will hold an Ash Wednesday worship service at 7 p.m.  in the sanctuary.

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 1), Pastor Jon Heeringa will be preaching a sermon series on the cross. A passage that describes the sermon series is I Corinthians 2:2, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

You can also join a Lenten Life Group during the season to go deeper into the topics addressed during the Sunday sermons. If you are interested in getting involved in one of those groups, fill out this form:

When Lent ends, we will celebrate Easter together on April 1, with the theme “Empty Cross! Empty Tomb! Burning Hearts!”

Continue Reading