Ash Wednesday begins the Christian season of Lent. Ashes are a physical reminder or a symbol of our mortality, an image about dying to one life and being raised to another.
This is the first day of 40 days of waiting until Easter Sunday when we believe that Jesus rose from the dead. The colours in our worship spaces turn from green to purple, a colour of waiting and royalty – the other time we see purple is Advent when we’re waiting for Jesus to be born.
Some of you may spend this time of Lent practicing a new spiritual discipline such as a prayer walk each morning or fasting, some might be giving up something that seems to be getting in the way of the life we long to live, some may sacrifice something they enjoy and give the money saved to an organisation helping others.
Ashes have been used in Christian churches to mark the beginning of Lent since at least the 10th Century and they are also mentioned in scripture as a symbol of purification, or being made clean, and repentance, or being sorry.