Ash Wednesday is a tradition celebrated most often in strongly liturgical churches, but many Baptist churches across the country are offering sunrise services or evening services at their church to offer the imposition of the ashes on parishioners and clergy alike.
What is the imposition of the ashes? What does that even mean? Ash Wednesday is a beautiful reminder of our humility before God. From ashes we have come and to ashes we will return (Genesis 2). In the early Christian church, the ministers would put the mark of a cross on the foreheads of Christians 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays) to signify the beginning of Lent. The ashes were made from the previous year’s Palm branches that were waved in honor of Palm Sunday. This is a poignant reminder that those who sing Christ’s praise on one hand are quick to shout “Crucify him!” swinging their fist on the other. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Also in the early church, after almost two months of learning about the Christian church, new believers would be baptized on Easter morning. We too at FBC like to do baptisms on Easter morning as a symbolic reminder that we must “die” to ourselves and to be “resurrected” into new life with Jesus Christ! Death has not won! Darkness has not won! Sadness has not won! God dying is not how the story ends! Light illumines! Hope is here! God is alive and so are we!
FBC’s Ash Wednesday service will be February 17 at 6:30pm in the sanctuary. Instead of a priest marking our foreheads with the sign of the cross, in true Baptist style, each of us, priests in our own right, will turn and give each other the imposition of the cross.
We hope you’ll join us on this special journey through Lent… and even better, you’ll join us Easter morning.