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An eNote
Don Anderson, Minister

Alvin Church of Christ



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Ash Wednesday
February 10, 2013


Ash Wednesday is a day of celebration in the religious liturgical world to mark the beginning of the season of Lent, which leads up to Easter Sunday.  The name is derived by the practice of placing ashes in the sign of a cross on the foreheads of adherents as a reminder of their human sinfulness.  It is regarded as a sign of mourning and repentance toward God.  The ashes traditionally come from the burning of the prior years palm leaves from Palm Sunday and remain in place until they are worn off.


The season of Lent is a period of fasting and sacrifice whereby Christians remember the 40 days of temptation that Jesus endured in the wilderness after his baptism.  It is often observed by individual Christians making sacrifices of something in their life during that 40 day observance…such as giving up coffee, bread, soft drinks or some other personal pleasure.  

According to some Biblical scholars, the Magi followed the star and came into the presence of the baby Jesus on the date on our modern day calendar that we know as January 6th. This is known as the Epiphany (epiphaneia in Koine Greek) meaning “striking appearance”. It is sometimes also know as Theophany (theophaneia in the Ancient Greek language) meaning “vision of God.” This day is known as a day of celebration for the revelation of God via the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. We often see this belief demonstrated today by the custom of many Christians who will leave their Christmas decorations up until January 6th of each year in observance of this event.


Ash Wednesday is always 40 days prior to Easter Sunday, not counting the five Sunday's preceding Easter Sunday. Meaning the date is always floating on the calendar and that there is a total of 46 calendar days before to Easter. It can occur as early as February 4th or as late as March 10th.

The period between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday is known as the period of celebration and is most commonly demonstrated by Mardi Gras celebrations. Mardi Gras is the French word for Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday. This year, Easter Sunday is on March 31st, thus 46 days prior including March 30th (Holy Saturday) is February 13th.

Lent is most often observed by Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodist, The Disciples of Christ and some remote strand’s of the Baptist Faith communities. It is commonly observed today in such ways as refusal to eat meat on Friday’s as well as a number of other sacrifices. There are several churches in Alvin that participate together during this season by having a combined meal of soup and cornbread together each Wednesday night. They rotate between the different participating churches and invite everyone to join them. These meals begin on Ash Wednesday and continue for five weeks.. They meet individually on Holy Wednesday, the night before Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday).

 The practice of this type of celebration has its earliest mention in writings in the late 3rd century. While the Bible certainly does not give any indication that such sacrifices need to be made, there is never anything wrong with Christians taking a period of time to reflect, sacrifice and intentionally draw nearer to God. In fact, there is Biblical precedence for doing just that!

We see that the Bible tells us to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Christ each and every Lord’s Day, and we do that through the partaking of Communion. However, setting aside a period of time to intensify our commitment and devotion to the Lord is something that God will always bless. 

Welcome then, to the season of Lent!


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