Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lent season for those in the Christian faith. Lent is the 40-day period that Christians prepare for Easter, ending on Easter Sunday. The season of Lent is of self-denial in preparation for the celebration of Easter. Lent is to remind us of how sin separates us from God, and what it costs God to be reunited with us.
Ash Wednesday Tradition
On Ash Wednesday, Christians gather to receive the imposition of ashes.
In this tradition, Christians attend a church service, gathering, or even an imposition of ashes “drive-thru” (that was brought forth during the 2020 pandemic). Christians attend these services to receive ashes, placed on their foreheads. The ashes help remind us that we need to return to God to show repentance.
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of a season to celebrate the life that we have. We can begin to unpack the fragility of this life, and perhaps take out what is not for us and add in the things that make us feel whole again.
Even when we are reminded of our mortality by the smearing of ashes in the shape of a cross, there is confidence and joy. The joy of Ash Wednesday, Lent, and the whole Christian experience and life is not the joy of possessing, but of letting go. It is not the security of holding on to God, but of being held by God.
Begin this Ash Wednesday in reflection on your life to evaluate where you are, both spiritually and emotionally. Check in with yourself.
I will include Ash Wednesday services around Charleston below if you or your family are interested in trying one this year. Find more information about Ash Wednesday here.
However, if you’re thinking: What if I cannot attend an Ash Wednesday service? What if I am not comfortable attending a church, or what if I don’t know anything about Ash Wednesday?
That is okay; you can still participate in the Lenten season! We are all on our different journeys, and the Lord God is always with you wherever you are, not just in a church service!
Participating in Lent
Lent is a time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to draw us closer to God. Lent is meant to be a time of repentance to prepare our hearts and minds for Good Friday and Easter. This means you can participate right now!
During Lent, many people decide to fast and give up some things they love, including certain habits. This could mean a social media fast, fasting from certain behaviors, or choosing to abstain from alcohol, chocolate, cursing, anger, or bitterness, for example.
In turn, Lent is a tremendous opportunity to walk with the Lord. While many may decide to fast or abstain from certain behaviors and habits, you can also take this as a prompt to cultivate new habits such as, perhaps: prayer, exercising, volunteering with a local charity, or donating clothes, books, and toys.
My prayer for you this Lenten season is to allow God’s grace to comfort you and to grow in your truth and faith in him who loves you.
Find an Ash Wednesday Service to Attend
Luckily we live in the HOLY CITY; there’s a place for you and your family! Ash Wednesday falls on Wednesday, February 14th this year. Anglican, Lutheran, Catholic, and some Non-Denominational churches typically have Ash Wednesday services.
Here are a few options:
- Downtown: St. Michael’s Church at 7:30 a.m., 12:00 noon, and 5:15 p.m.
- West Ashley: Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church at 12:00 noon (English), 6: 00 p.m. (English), and 8:00 p.m. (Spanish)
- Summerville: St. Theresa Church at 12:00 noon (English), 5:30 p.m. (English), and 7:00 p.m. (Spanish)
- Daniel Island: ONE Fellowship, NON-Denomination at 7:00 p.m.
- Mount Pleasant: Christ Our King Catholic Church at 7:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, and 6:00 p.m.
I invite you today to check in with yourself and see what you want to take out of this Lenten season, and what you will allow space for to add into your life.
If you have any questions about Ash Wednesday or want a friend to talk to about your faith, do not hesitate to reach out to me directly on Instagram!