Today is Ash Wednesday.
And I believe it can be more than just empty ritual for those who take this season of Lent seriously. Click Here: for yesterday’s post on Lent.
Ashes give us a real important picture. They remind us that LIFE IS SHORT! We are fragile and need to be forgiven.
Ashes played an important part in the ancient world of the scriptures, they were used as an external way of identifying outwardly with what was happening in their hearts.
Ashes were also a SYMBOL OF CLEANSING. In ancient cultures when they didn’t have soap, they’d cleanse themselves with ashes. Ashes remind us that cleansing is possible because the LOVE and GRACE OF GOD ARE SO GREAT!
So ashes then symbolize both OUR need to repent and GOD’S cleansing of our hearts and lives!
“Now, now, – it is the Lord who speaks, come back to me with all your heart… for God is all tenderness and compassion…” (Joel 2)
ASH WEDNESDAY - PRAYER OF REPENTANCE
Please, Lord, be with us at every moment and in every place. Give us the strength and the courage to live this life faithfully and hear this prayer…
Most holy and merciful Father: (We confess to you, Lord) and to one another, and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth that we have sinned by our own fault in thought, word and deed; by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven. We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit. (Have mercy on us, Lord).
We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy and impatience of our lives, Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people, Our anger at our own frustration and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves, Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work, Our negligence in prayer and worship and our failure to commend the faith that is in us. (Have mercy on us, Lord).
Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done: for our blindness to human need and suffering and our indifference to injustice and cruelty, for all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us. (Accept our repentance, Lord).