Riverside will gather for a simple worship service on Ash Wednesday at 6:30 pm. All are welcome (including children) to participate in this time of song, prayer, scripture reading, reflection, sharing of ashes, and communion. This service is full of symbols and participatory elements that help us enter into the story of God’s rescue of us in Jesus Christ.
What is Ash Wednesday?
Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, which is our 40 day journey to Easter Sunday. Lent is an intentional season of reflection and confession in preparation for celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. There are actually 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, but the Sundays of Lent are not counted because every Sunday is considered a mini-Easter that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection.
In Jewish and Christian history, ashes are a sign of mortality and repentance. Mortality, because when we die, our bodies eventually decompose and we become dust/dirt/ash. Repentance, because long ago, when people felt remorse for something they did, they would put ashes on their head and wear “sackcloth” (scratchy clothing) to remind them that sin is pretty uncomfortable and leads to a sort of death of the spirit. This was their way of confessing their sins and asking for forgiveness. The ashes Riverside will use come from the palm branches that we waved on Palm Sunday last year.