This week we begin the season of Lent. Though it may feel as though we’ve not long ago packed away the Christmas decorations, it is now the time to begin the journey with Jesus toward the cross. In observing Lent, we join the church worldwide in honouring a journey that undergirds and inspires our faith. It is the journey of Jesus from his resolutions to obedience in the desert to his trial and crucifixion in city of Jerusalem. As followers of Jesus, it's a journey into which we are invited.
The journey begins this Wednesday March 1. It is commonly called Ash Wednesday. Immediately following his baptism, the gospels tell us that Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness where he was tested and tempted. These 40 days proved a vital preparation for the journey ahead. The season of Lent originated as a mirroring of this for Jesus’ followers, 40 days of preparation for Easter. Traditionally they were 40 days of fasting by which Christians identified with the deprivations and sacrifice that coloured the life of Jesus through to his death.
Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of blessing ashes made from palm branches from the previous year's Palm Sunday, and placing them on the heads of participants to the accompaniment of the words "Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” Though Ash Wednesday has not featured prominently for Baptists, we have adopted the practice of an Ash Wednesday service as a way of intentionally preparing ourselves for the Lenten journey. While we don’t burn ashes from palm branches and place them on our foreheads, we do find ways to express our confession and commitment as followers of Christ.
Know that you are welcome to join us. We gather in the sanctuary at 7pm on Wednesday March 1.