Ash Wednesday and the Observance of Lent

Home » 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

Local Groups webpage
TG: Fri 24 Jan

Ever wondered what's happening in Curry Rivel especially what the local groups and societies have to offer? Have a look and download the calendar HERE to see the wide variety of activities planned for this month, next month and the rest of the year.For more information on the various groups and activities that are running in and...

hippodrome8
TG: Tue 21 Jan 8:36am

Contacts: coxtheatretrips@btinternet.com, WebTel.01458 273085Lots of great trips to Bristol Hippodrome planned for 2020/2021. Two new additions are Dreamgirls and Strictly Ballroom. Full details at www.theatretrips.webeden.co.uk . Two other trips will run if there is enough demand; In August to Sunny Afternoon, featuring The Kinks music and a...

Probus 2
tg: Sun 19 Jan

Christmas saw our bi-annual formal lunch and like before, we gathered in our best frocks and suits with our families and friends for a festive feast.Dillington House welcomed us and treated us to an extremely pleasant lunch with professional and well organised service as previously. Thank you to them.We had a good number attend and were able to raise an adequate amount from the raffle towards...