Day 1

Ash Wednesday

from the Lent 2016 reading plan


Genesis 3:8-21, Luke 12:13-21, Ecclesiastes 12:7, 1 Corinthians 15:42-49

BY Guest Writer

Text: Genesis 3:8-21, Luke 12:13-21, Ecclesiastes 12:7, 1 Corinthians 15:42-49

Observing Ash Wednesday is not a biblical command. We are free to observe it and we are free not to. So what is it? Why have Christians around the world, for over ten centuries, attended Ash Wednesday service as a way to begin the liturgical season of Lent?

Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance. It is a day where we take a page from the Book of Job and repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:6). We remember that we are mortal.

During an Ash Wednesday service, people make their way to the front of the church as a minister moves down the line holding a bowl of ashes made from the palm fronds of the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration. The minister might whisper into the worshipper’s ear as he smears ash in the shape of a cross onto the worshipper’s forehead: “Remember, mortal, that from the dust you were made, and to the dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

Some ministers put it more plainly, saying simply, “Remember that you have to die.”

Without Christ, these are hard words. With Christ, they are a reminder that, though our bodies will one day return to dust, we have the hope of the resurrection. Still, even for those in Christ, these words are a sober reminder that only Jesus’ death and resurrection could pay the wage of our sin and reconcile us to our Maker.

The ashen cross is an outward sign of both repentance and hope. It is a way to repent of our rebellion against God and “confess our sins one to another” (James 5:16). It is appropriate to enter into a season of celebrating the finished work of Christ by assuming a posture of repentance, confessing our need for a Savior.

On Ash Wednesday we admit our limits and acknowledge the brevity of this life. Whether in a formal Ash Wednesday service or privately in our homes, let’s use the first day of the Lenten season to remember that from the dust we were made and to the dust we shall return.

Russ Ramsey is one of the local pastors who serves She Reads Truth & He Reads Truth by providing theological oversight and pastoral counsel. Russ the author of Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative and Behold the King of Glory: A Narrative of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He writes and pastors in Nashville, Tennessee. He and his wife Lisa have four amazing kids.

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Post Comments (321)

321 thoughts on "Ash Wednesday"

  1. Jennifer says:

    This is my first devotional so I’m not sure what to expect. I have been struggling with understanding God and I am excited to see how this will help strengthen my relationship with Him. My favorite part of this devotional was that we will return to Gods Kingdom one day and be with Him. I also really liked how it broke down the meaning of Lent because I never truly understood the meaning of it. Really looking forward to this app!!

  2. Melissa says:

    I’m feeling far from God; after becoming a follower 6 years ago, I was really poured into and raised up as a leader, too quickly! Now I feel like out of failing to meet expectations & not getting my life as a Christian leader all together (I still had to finish university), I’ve slowly, blindly walked away from Jesus. This reminder of mortality & repentance is a blessing as I’m turning around my steps to come running back to God. Prayers appreciated.

    1. Renata says:

      Thank you for sharing. I am on a similar boat, although a bit different. I have two small children and lately I feel that making time for God has become more and more challenging. My children are meant to bring me closer to God and not take

      me far away from Him. Even though in my mind I am aware of this, I struggle to find the strength to pray or ready my bible. I am constantly tired and drained from everything. I will be praying starting tonight for your journey and for God to strengthen your faith. I ask for your prayer as well.:)

      1. MaraMama7 says:

        Motherhood has shown me very similar struggles. As a mother of four, I too find it difficult to sit down and have quiet times without being disturbed. Sometimes it’s difficult to get up earlier than my family to get that uninterrupted time- I need (and want!) sleep to function too! But I think God knows our limitations, our struggles, and our hearts desire to be closer to Him and blesses each attempt we make at trying to reach Him. Keep up the good work. Every attempt is a move closer to success ;)

  3. Halle Stork says:

    Cool

  4. Tabitha says:

    I really like Kristen’s idea that in lieu of giving something up to instead add a journal rejoices. for

  5. Alison says:

    I had the same problem. Go under “settings” and click on restore app purchased at the bottom!

  6. Katie Eaton says:

    I purchased Lent, but cannot figure out how to open it. Any help?

    1. Karisa says:

      I’m having the same problem :/ I can only read the sample day 1

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi friend! If it’s not showing up in your plans list, click ‘settings’ then ‘Restore in-app purchases.” Email [email protected] if that doesn’t work!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

      1. Hallie says:

        All the GLORY to the Lord I was once blind a pile of dust and now into a new life I am a little ball of joy because of this!!!I I AM NEW!!

      2. Hallie says:

        I was once a pile of dust now resurrection and I AM NEW I am change saved and set free!!!

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