Ash Wednesday and Lent are observances of the church which emerged centuries after Jesus. However, as a Jew, Jesus would have known and followed practices of repentance and rededication to God commanded by the Torah. The traditional 40-day period of Lent – which is actually 46 days because Sundays are not counted – is meant to mirror the period which scripture relates that Jesus spent in the wilderness before taking up his ministry.

Grace North will offer our annual service in observance of Ash Wednesday on March 5 at 7pm in the sanctuary. While the service is the traditional Christian observance of the start of Lent (the season of reflection and renewal leading to Easter), persons of all faiths may find resonance with the spirit of this gathering.

On Ash Wednesday we are invited through readings and music to reflect on those ways in which we might develop a nurturing, spiritual focus in the days and weeks to come, and then live prayerfully and humbly into our intentions. If desired, participants may have their intentions held in prayer by all those in attendance.  In this way, our practice is not aligned with the idea of “giving up something for Lent,” which implies sacrifice. Rather, we are encouraged, through honest reflection, to take on a life-giving intention. For some, this will be a walk in wilderness. For all, we hope it is a walk into greater light and love.

Ashes are created from burned palms from last year’s Palm Sunday observance. At the service the mark of ashes may be placed on the foreheads of worshippers signifying repentance of the ways in which we have fallen short of all that God hopes for us. Perhaps more importantly, they are also a reminder of our mortality, and our humble but powerful human potential. Our theme for Lent is a hopeful “Renewing and Reshaping.”  Please join us for Ash Wednesday on March 5 at 7pm, and for worship and Eucharist at 5pm on Sunday evenings.