Ash Wednesday

This year for Ash Wednesday I’m reposting some thoughts from last year, with updated links and a prayer below.

Today is Ash Wednesday, one of my favorite days in the liturgical year.

I know, that sounds kind of strange, even morbid.  Ash Wednesday invites us to look at our finitude, our frailty, our pain and death.  It invites us to a 40-day journey that is in many ways a journey to our own death in the shadow of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

This is, of course, countercultural to us; as a culture we try hard to avoid death, grief, and pain. So in our churches we don’t regularly enter into the kinds of faith practices that help us live with and through our pain.  Ash Wednesday is one small window into this world of worship. Lent gives us an opportunity to practice prayers of lament—bringing our brokenness to God as many of the psalms do with raw honesty.

Lament opens the possibility of facing the doubts and questions we carry and then turning toward the face of the One who can handle them.  The possibility of—as our children’s Bible phrases it—seeing sad things come “untrue” again as the Kingdom breaks in.

As usual, God is springing new life in the midst of our death this Lenten season.  Over the next 40 days, we’re invited to make space to take notice.

Below are a few (updated) links if you need new ideas for Lent resources.  Please share more ideas and links if you have them:

Lent 101, by Kelly Soifer 

Getting Ready for Lent, lots of links compiled by Christine Sine

Encountering God, ideas from Lilly Lewin via YouthWorker Journal


And a prayer for Ash Wednesday, courtesy of Christine Sine:


Jesus come and save us,

We are but dust,
We are like ashes,
but you can touch our unclean souls.

Jesus come and forgive us,

Our hearts are heavy,
Our burdens are great,
Cleanse us with the water of life.

Jesus come and heal us,

Restore our sight,
Teach us truth,
Speak to us words that bring us wholeness.

Jesus touch us with your heart of love,

Cleanse us with the water of life,
Restore our sight that we may see,
Teach us truth that we may lead Godly lives.