Pastor's Blog
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February 28, 2019, 3:20 PM

From the Pastor - Ash Wednesday



As February draws to a close, many in the church begin thinking about Easter. Easter is more than a moment in the Christian church; it is the defining moment. Jesus’ death and resurrection are the foundation upon which the the church is built. Because of its importance, one does not simply “drop into” Easter. We approach it slowly, with awe and reverence. The church, through the ages, has developed rituals and public services that were and are designed to help a Christian get ready for the holy moment that is Easter Sunday. As a pastor, it is my desire and hope to help all of us better understand the moments and events leading up to Easter Sunday so we will all be better prepared. I shall begin with Ash Wednesday.

On Ash Wednesday, Christians of many different backgrounds gather together and, in some form or fashion, have the sign of the cross made on their forehead with ashes. Like many rituals and services in the Christian church today, this began during a time when there was only one church, the Roman Catholic Church. So, when people say that Ash Wednesday is a “Catholic thing” they are in some respect correct. However, the imposition of ashes (the churchy way of saying “placing ashes on your forehead”) was carried into the first reformation churches that broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. It was examined and prayed over by pious, Godly men (and some women too) and for many, it was decided that it was important and worth carrying forward into their “new” churches.

The reason comes from a reading in the book of Genesis, Chapter 3, verse 19. Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. God addressed their sin, and the consequences when he made the following proclamation:

“By the sweat of your brow
          you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
          since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
          and to dust you will return.”

This passage also formed Christian burial services where the pastor, or the pastor and the people, proclaim “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” as they place a handful of dirt on the coffin after it is laid to rest. It is a reminder to each of us of our own mortality. We were created, we will live, and we will die. We were made from dust, given life by the breath of God Himself, and one day we shall return to the dust.

On Wednesday, March 6 at 7:00 pm, we will gather at Lake Union Church (you are all formally invited) and spend time pondering our mortality, God’s goodness, and how those two things connect. Please join us!

In God’s Grip,
Pastor Mark

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