My First Ash Wednesday Service

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The lights were low. Candles were lit and cloistered around tall wooden crosses. The overhead screen asked us to thoughtfully prepare ourselves for the upcoming service. People bowed their heads and quietly sat in meditaion. The smell of carnations filled the sanctuary.

To me, carnations are the smell of death.

The music, prayer, and sermon helped us focus on who we are – a people in need. We are a people in need of a Saviour-God who impacted history with His birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension.

We are impacted by  . . .

  • His example.
  • His obedience.
  • His love for the Father.
  • His love for us.

We confessed our sins, on bended knee, in silence to an everlistening God.

The pastors marked our foreheads with ashen oil in the shape of the cross.

  • With the horizontal stroke, “Be free from sin.” 
  • With the vertical stroke, “Be free to follow the Gospel.”

After I returned to my seat with my annointed head, I realized that the smell of death was gone. Vanished. I didn’t get used to the smell – it was vanquised.

Oh, yes! 
Be free from sin and death because of Christ’s finished work on the cross.

Oh, yes!
Be free to follow the Gospel and not the road to death because of the same.

My friends, I pray the same for you . . .
Be free from sin.
Be free to follow the Gospel.

Entry filed under: Calendar, Honor Roll, Meditations, Susan's World.

Habakkuk Gleanings in Three Areas: God, Believers and Unbelievers Advice Needed about the “More” Link

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. doodah!  |  . at .

    Wow! Cool post. I’m not of the same mind about the smell of carnations, but I loved the poetry in this post. 🙂 Be free! I was not able to go to my church’s ash wednesday service – the first one theyve ever done – but my roommate did, and she said she was suprised and had her socks blessed right off whent hey said they would actually do ashes for those that wanted them. She had grown up catholic, gotten saved into a pentacostal church and is now attending a “run o’ the mill” evangelical church. She loves Jesus and the freedom she has as a protestant follower, but it touched her heart to get to experience the old service with her new church community. I am sad I missed it.

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  • 2. susan2009  |  . at .

    Bummer. My last comment didn’t go through. Sigh.

    Sometime I’ll explain about the carnations.

    I love tradition although I didn’t grow up in a traditional church.

    That is cool your roomie was blessed by the service. What a background she has. Worshipping with her must be a “rich” experience.

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  • 3. doodah  |  . at .

    It is!

    I’ve been blessed to attend so many different churches, and to be a part of so many different parachurch organizations (Intervarsity, Youth Specialties, various missions groups). I don’t think of “church” as being my local worshiping body, so much as I think of The Church, in all its glory and frailty. Each denomination shows a slightly different facet of God.

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  • 4. susan2009  |  . at .

    I like how you said that, doodah. “Each denomination shows a slightly different facet of God.”

    Just like with people. Each one of us shows a slightly different aspect of God. And when the Church is all gathered together in glory, we’ll see a full representation of Him.

    Happy Lent thoughts to you!

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  • […] Related Posts . . . Read about my 1st Ash Wednesday here. […]

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  • […] My First Ash Wednesday Service […]

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