I know that I am late, but I wasn't about to let Ash Wednesday pass without mentioning it's general importance, but also it's importance to me.
According to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, & Luke, Christ spent 40 days in the wilderness, fasting and praying before he started his public ministry. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this forty day liturgical period of prayer and fasting.
In our family, Ash Wednesday is not only marked on the calendar but also by our attendance at the evening church service and the imposition of ashes; a ritual which comes from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of mourning and repentence to God. The ashes used are usually made from the burned palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday (my Confirmation kids got to do the burning last week, which was fun, but solemn at the same time.
So, this evening, Mrs. Bill and I took Olivia to her puppet team practice, and then dashed off to a pre-church dinner date. After dinner we had a brief choir rehearsal, and then the well-attended service.
With Ash Wednesday, we enter the season of Lent, which, of course leads to Easter... the most important time of the church year. I will spend the next 40 days trying to make myself ready.
"From dust you come, to dust you shall return."