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Ash Wednesday Worship

11:00am - 11:40amDavis Chapel


Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Ash Wednesday, the day following our Shrove Tuesday pancake feast, marks the beginning of Lent’s Great Fast. 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.