Planning a Worship Service for Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday will be upon us soon. Like all elements of the Christian Church liturgical calendar, Ash Wednesday is an effective way to preach the gospel and “walk through” the gospel story. At our church, Sojourn, we always observe Ash Wednesday with an early morning service.

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent. The Church set this date in the fourth century by counting back 40 days from Easter (excluding Sundays). This brings us to the Wednesday seven weeks before Easter. Each of the 40 days represents one of the 40 days when Christ fasted in the wilderness, before Satan tempted Him (Mark 4:2).

On this day, we:

  • Contemplate the death that reigns in us because of sin, and our need for Jesus to save us.
  • Commit to daily repentance—to “die daily,” as Paul said (1 Corinthians 15:31).
  • Celebrate that Christ conquered Satan, sin and the grave.

So Where Do the Ashes Come In?

In the Bible, ashes help us remember our mortality and frailty resulting from the Fall (Genesis 3:19; 18:27). When we put ashes on our foreheads in the sign of the cross, we participate in a visible reminder of our condition—and the power of the cross to change that condition forever.

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Source: Church Leaders