The season of Lent begins this week with Ash Wednesday on March 5. As we mark Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday this week in worship and around meal tables, we can reflect on rhythms of feasting and fasting that are central to Christianity and to the religious practices of many other faiths. We can also consider the meaning of feast and fast in a world where too many face empty tables; Lent calls us to reflect again on the Christian Gospel’s Easter promises of abundant feasts for all of God’s people. This is perhaps the most palpable outcome of a holy Lent during which worshippers consider what it means to live lives of meaningful sacrifice and redemptive service to others.
The School of Divinity will hold an Ash Wednesday Service on Wednesday, March 5, at 2:30pm on the steps of Wait Chapel. The first Christian liturgy we have for the use of ashes on Ash Wednesday is from the 10th Century in Rome. Christian worshippers today mark their foreheads with ashes to mark the start of Lent’s 40 days of fasting. Why ashes? In Scripture, ashes symbolize death (Genesis 18:27), judgment (Ezekiel 28:18), lament (Esther 4:3), and repentance (Jonah 3: 6). Ashes are also associated in the bible with fasting (Daniel 9:3 and Isaiah 58:5). Some burial liturgies include the phrase, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” spoken as dirt is sprinkled into the gravesite; both the ashes and the dust symbolize the finality of death. Both also symbolize life and growth.
Registration for the Fall 2014 Term is just around the corner:
Descriptions of some of the elective course offerings for Fall 2014 can be found here. Please note that we are likely to be making some changes to the schedule up until advising begins. We will add other course descriptions as they become available.
Blessings for the week ahead,
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Image Courtesy of http://www.aholyexperience.com/.