On Ash Wednesday, we are invited “in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance, by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; . . .” (BCP, p. 265)
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the forty days of Lent. Blessed ashes, obtained by burning the palms used on the previous Palm Sunday, are placed on the foreheads of worshipers in the shape of a cross.
Ash Wednesday and the liturgy of this day, can evoke for us reminders of the things that are important. It tells us to not take a moment of this time for granted, to live and love to the fullest, to treasure this precious world, and to treasure those we love and those who love us. It is a day to remember that God loves us so much as to make sacrifices for us when we are unable to do so ourselves. It is a day to allow God in Christ to forgive us so that we might live the residue of our lives reflecting the very love that God has for us and for all of creation. It is a day that we may remind ourselves with great humility to love God and love all others.
Today we celebrate Valentine's Day with all our loved ones by sharing chocolates, cards, roses, and more. We also are beginning the season of Lent. Both provide the time to focus on love and presence. Both offer invitations to go deeper into God's love for us. In the days ahead I pray that you find invitations to present to yourself and to others. Listen for God's voice in the quiet and in the encouragement from friends and family.
God of wonder and of joy; grace comes from you, and you alone are the source of life and love. Without you, we cannot please you; without your love, our deeds are worth nothing. Send your Holy Spirit, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love. That we may worship you now with thankful hearts and serve you always with tilling minds; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Ahem.