Ash Wednesday in the Church and on the Streets

Ash Wednesday ReneeChristians all around the world will mark the beginning of the Lenten season on February 18 with observances of Ash Wednesday in worship services throughout the day. Highland will try an initiative started in recent years to offer the symbol of Ash Wednesday during the noon hour to pedestrians in public places. The focus will not be on Highland, but on reflecting on life’s finitude and inviting people to examine the direction and quality of their living.

Passersby will be invited to receive the Lenten ashes on their foreheads and to take a card explaining the ritual and offering some questions for reflection. The hope is to stir curiosity for the sacred journey of faith. The rest is left to God. Read here for Pastor Joe’s reflections upon this initiative.

Highland members will be placed in groups of two or three and sent to various locations from 12:00 to 1:00 on Ash Wednesday. To participate, contact one of our ministers.

As is our custom, we invite all to join us for our Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday, February 18, at 6:15 p.m. in the Sanctuary. This is a service of penitence and humbleness, giving us time to reflect on our own mortality and sinfulness and allowing us time to turn from those things in our lives that we know are harmful and not Christ-centered.

Ash Wednesday takes on a deeper meaning by being the entrance point to the Lenten season – a season in the church year where we remember the 40 days before the crucifixion; where we make preparation for the celebration of the major event of the liturgical year and for the central event of our lives:  the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Ash Wednesday becomes a poignant remembrance of last year’s Palm Sunday and Easter celebrations, for we have saved the the Palm branches from that service and we burn them until they become ash which is then used to create a sign of penitence upon our foreheads this year. The use of ashes during the service gives an outward sign of our inward sorrow. It also reminds us that we were formed from the dust of the earth, and that we will return to the earth at our last day.

We invite you to join us on Wednesday evening, February 18, at 6:15 p.m. in the Sanctuary to experience not a journey toward darkness and gloom, but rather a journey toward Easter filled with a positive rediscovering of who we are.