Why ashes and Ash Wednesday? Ashes are an ancient symbol used by the Hebrew people to indicate that they were in mourning – that and tearing their clothes – so be glad we don’t have Torn Clothes Wednesday!
Why mourning? One of the basic ideas of Lent is that as Followers of Jesus we are sorry for our sins – and mourn the reality that, as Paul lamented, we continue doing the things we know we shouldn’t and continue not doing the things we know we should.
Ashes are also a powerful symbol that our earthly life is finite and fleeting. You know the phrase – “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
This Lent, let’s begin this Wednesday with the ashes of earthly reality and end triumphantly with Christ’s defeat of death in the ressurection power of Easter!