Lent, a traditional period of fasting and reflection begins with Ash Wednesday, a day when ashes were placed on the heads of participants to signify penance. Traditionally, it begins a season that Christians across the globe and denominations seek God. Sadly, many people know more about Fat Tuesday than they do about Ash Wednesday. We’re better at celebrating the excesses of carnality than we are at seeking a deeper Jesus centered spirituality.
Today, many “modern” churches are beginning to observe Ash Wednesday and Lent within their congregations. It’s a way for them to connect with the more ancient parts of their faith. If you’ve never done it before, here are 3 tips for your first time.
3 Tips to Observing Ash Wednesday and Lent for the first time
1.) Get prepared. If you’ve never observed it before, make sure you understand what you’re doing and have a well thought out plan. Do your research, and learn the historical and theological background in which they are grounded. If you’re not sure why things are done or how things will work, wait another year to implement or join an established observance within another congregation.
2.) Explain it well. Don’t just surprise people with ashes and expect them to fast. Make sure they know what’s going on. First, explain why you’re observing the season. Then, explain the historical and theological background of Ash Wednesday and Lent. Finally, explain how your church is going to incorporate this observance with the things you’re already doing.
3.) Keep it Jesus Centered. People need Jesus. Ash Wednesday and Lent were designed to help people connect with Him and prepare them for baptism. Teach people about Him and inspire them to fall in love with Him.
Does your church celebrate Ash Wednesday? How does it work within your congregation?