Ash Wednesday and the Observance of Lent

Home » News » Latest News » Ash Wed - Observance of Lent
Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday and the Observance of Lent
Wednesday 1st March 2017

Ash Wednesday and the observance of Lent as we know it came into existence somewhere between the fifth and eighth centuries. Ash Wednesday is now forty-six days before Easter (forty weekdays).

The tradition of fasting during Lent mirrors that of Jesus. In the Book of Common Prayer, Ash Wednesday is described as a 'Greater Fast', one of two, with Good Friday being the other.

Fasting, in Biblical times, was always associated with acts of repentance, along with 'sackcloth and ashes'. People or communities who had sinned would wear sackcloth and sprinkle themselves with ashes, as an outward sign of their repentance.

The 'ashing' of repentant Christians was formerly only for public penitents. These people would have to go to the church door on the first day of Lent, wearing penitential clothing and with bare feet. Penances were imposed, and they were then brought into the church before the Bishop, who would put ashes on their foreheads with the words "Repent, so that you may have eternal life". Out of humility and affection, friends of the penitents would join with them and also have ashes imposed. Numbers increased gradually until eventually all Christians present came forward for 'ashing'. This became the Imposition of Ashes as we know it today. Only the words have changed: "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return." This is rather like saying "Don't forget your place or get above your station, for that is not what God wants of you".

The ashes used on Ash Wednesday are obtained by burning the palms of the previous year (now the palm crosses).
Lent, as a time of fasting, has been kept almost since the time of the Apostles. It is an end in itself for spiritually strengthening the faithful.

St Andrew's Church 7.30pm Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes
In modern times we are equally encouraged to 'take something on' as 'give something up'.

More news from Curry Rivel

Email to the Editor
: Sat 24 Jun 5:56am

'Email the Editor' has received the following request for help (email address withheld).... Can You help? Are you related to Daniel Rowsell?.... Do you know the history of the Queen Victoria Inn in Curry Rivel?.... Was there a Queen Victoria Inn in Curry Rivel? One of the existing pubs, renamed? Have you any photos? Dear Editor I am researching my family tree. I have found my great...

Wild Somerset Exhibit
: Fri 23 Jun 8:56am

The Wild Edge Gallery's new exhibition called 'wildest Somerset' is open until 29th July. Works include paintings by Jim Starr (who has recently produced work featured in BBC's The Apprentice), sculptures by Ian Marlow and April Young, photography from Suzanne Easton and drawing and paintings by Erica...

Wheel barrow of flowers at Parsonage Place
: Fri 23 Jun 7:32am

JUDGEMENT DAY IS NIGH! Curry Rivel in Bloom News Website: curryrivelinbloom.simplesite.com On Wednesday, July 12th. the judges will be in the village between 10-12am. We hope you like the planting at the War Memorial, on the High Street walls and elsewhere around the village. A big thank you to all those who have planted up tubs and...