"God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7
In ancient days ashes were used to express mourning. Dusting with ashes was a way of conveying sorrow for the sins and faults that one has committed. We can find an early example of repentance in Job 42:3-6 - “You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.' “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
At present placing ashes on the forehead is viewed by Christians as a symbol of humility and sacrifice. Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent that occurs for 40-46 days before Easter and typically the ashes are collected from the burning of the palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. The minister usually says one or both of the following when applying the ashes:
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. (Gen 3:19)
Repent, and believe the Gospel. (Mark 1:15)
Ash Wednesday is a day meant as a reminder of human mortality, a sign of mourning and repentance. It is a day to spend some time in reflective prayer, listening to God’s heart for you at this moment in time.
Walk with God and glorify His name.
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