Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. On this day, Christians focus intensely on their utter and complete sinfulness and the necessity of Christ's suffering and death to earn their salvation. Ashes are referred to many times in the Old Testament as a sign of sorrow, mourning, repentance, and morality. Many churches use ashes during Ash Wednesday worship as part of a rite called the Imposition of Ashes. According to this ancient custom, ashes traditionally made by burning palm fronds used on Palm Sunday of the previous year, are mixed with a small amount of olive oil and applied to the forehead of each worshiper. This mark, in the sign of the cross, can be a powerful reminder of our sinful nature and our total dependence on God for forgiveness and salvation.
Some Christians choose to give up un-spiritual habits or behaviors during this time and replace them with those things that bring them closer to God. Let me invite you to join us at Benton First United Methodist Church in the sanctuary this at 6:15 p.m. if you would like to share in our Ash Wednesday service of worship. Join us in drawing closer to God in these coming days.