Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A little info about Ash Wednesday

Biblical significance of:

Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance and it marks the beginning of Lent. Ashes were used in ancient times, according to the Bible, to express mourning. Dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent's way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults. An ancient example of one expressing one's penitence is found in Job 42:3-6. Job says to God: "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (vv. 5-6, KJV) Other examples are found in several other books of the Bible including, Numbers 19:9, 19:17, Jonah 3:6, Matthew 11:21, and Luke 10:13, and Hebrews 9:13.

However, some Christians who do not celebrate Ash Wednesday say that the practice is not consistent with Scripture and is of pagan origin.[13] They usually cite Matthew 6:16–18, where Jesus gave prescriptions for fasting: "And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (NRSV) These groups argue that Jesus warned against fasting to gain favor from other people and that he also warned his followers that they should fast in private, not letting others know they were fasting. For these reasons, some Christian denominations do not endorse the practice. Others, however, point out that this very passage from Matthew is the one, not coincidentally, that is appointed by the Revised Common Lectionary to be read on Ash Wednesday. They might also clarify that the ashen Cross on the forehead does not represent the fast, but the mortal (fallen) condition of human existence. And they would refer to Jesus' words whereby he expected people to repent using sackcloth and ashes: "Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes." (Luke 10:13; see also Matthew 11:21)



12 comments:

Melissa said...

I used to go to Ash Wednesday services. They would mark your forehead with ashes while you had communion.

Denise said...

Good morning Patty, that is a wonderful explanation of Ash Wednesday. Enjoyed your post very much.

Reader Wil said...

I think Ash Wednesday is a symbolic reminder of our sins in this world and this life. I think Jesus warned against hypocrisy, which still happens every day.

अविनाश said...

something new 4 me....
good 2 read

Winifred said...

I normally fast today but forgot this afternoon and ate some grandchildren leftovers so that messed it up. I hate waste!

Femin Susan said...

hey
you have explained about ash Wednesday very well.i was in need of it.out community does not practice ash Wednesday. i have many of them in our school with small ash cross.
i enjoyed your post very much.

Sister--Three said...

I will try to post here...as Sister Helen says she can not. If I can, She will have to try again. I have not been here in a while and enjoyed visiting Lincoln country.

I recently read a new book about Mrs. Lincoln and really enjoyed it.
I was a nicer slant than most of the books about her.

Renie Burghardt said...

Great information on Ash Wednesday,Patty. I can't believe it's Lent already.

Have a good night.

Renie

Jack and Joann said...

Good report on Ash Wednesday Patty. When at Russia Local School which did all things Catholic even though it was and still is a public school we kids would compare our ashes and laugh at who had the funniest mark on their forehead. But we couldn't rub those ashes off till we got home from school. Those nuns would have had a fit!

Wanda said...

Very good Patty ~ wonderful information.

I'm a Christian that celebrates lent. I don't wear ashes, but for the next forty days will read and pray on scriptures that deal with His life, death and resurrection.

I haven't decided what I will give up for lent...but will probably juice fast Holy Week!

I think this is the only Holiday that's so personal... you can choose how you celebrate it!.

Love and Hugs
Wanda

Tomate Farcie said...

I saw a few people with ash on their forehead on the train today, coming home from work.

The 4th Sister said...

Oh good I am so glad I can now post again!...you are a joy...