The Christian season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday, and continues through the six weeks until Easter. Lent is a time that we set aside to take a sober look at ourselves and our lives, and to make any changes we need to make, so that we are ready to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter.
The first day of Lent is called Ash Wednesday, because on this day we remember that “we are dust, and to dust we shall return,” as the Prayer Book says. By this we mean that we are human, we are created from the dust of the earth, and our bodies will one day return to the dust of the earth. Because we are human, we are not perfect. We mess up, we make mistakes, and we are weak. But because we are human, we are called by God to live towards him, just as Jesus did.
At Swan Valley Anglican community School we had special Ash Wednesday chapel services for the Junior Years, Middle Years, and Senior Years. The students reflected on themselves as humans, and heard that “life does not consist in the abundance of possessions,” as Jesus tells us, but in being “rich toward God” (Luke 12:14, 21). During the service, each student had the traditional ash cross drawn on either their forehead or hand, to remind ourselves that we are human, and that while we are dust, we are called towards God.
Revd. David Entwistle