Ash Wednesday 2
To mark the beginning of Lent
Ashes made from last year's burnt palms, from Palm
A large sheet of paper showing the RENEW prayer
This can take place in the school hall, or at the
local church or chapel
A priest can be asked to take part
Taped music or reflective silence can replace a hymn
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
Lent is forty days, leading up to Easter, when we think especially
about our relationship with God.
It reminds us of the time when Jesus spent forty days in the desert,
thinking deeply about HIS relationship with God, his Father.
While there, Jesus prayed for the strength and courage to do his
Father's will - to save Man from sin.
Today, we receive the Ashes. We will carry a sign of the Cross, on our
foreheads, drawn in ash. We are showing everyone that we are sorry for
living in the Old Way of sin. We are making a conscious effort to try
again to live in the New Way of Jesus.
The Ashes are black and dusty. They remind us of darkness and sin and
death. They remind us of the Old Way.
Ashes are all that is left when something is burned up.
We are called to burn up our evil ways.
We are called to get rid of our selfishness, our meanness, our lies,
We are called to turn aside from the Old Way of sin.
We are called to live again in the New Way of Jesus.
A lot is expected of us during Lent.
We can fast, do penance, give things up or do extra things, but we
should not go about with gloomy faces. We should be grateful that we
are again being given a chance to make a new start - and that new start
begins today, when we present ourselves to receive the Ashes.
By making sacrifices, we show that we are indeed making an effort to
change our lives and live in the New Way. That, surely, leads to
As Jesus said, "When you are fasting, do not look solemn or sad, like
some people do, wanting everybody to know that they are fasting.
Believe me, they have already had all the reward they are going to get.
When you are fasting and doing penance, you must look happy and
so that no one knows you are fasting, except your Father in heaven.
He will know your secret and will reward you." (Matthew)
DISTRIBUTION OF ASHES
This can be performed by a priest or by someone supported by the priest.
A cross is drawn on each person's forehead, with the ashes.
The wording varies, but can be,
"Remember that from dust you come, to dust you will return."
This is not a sacrament, so can be received by all.
During Lent, try to do what the prophet Joel said. "Come back to your
Lord and God. He is waiting to forgive you, full of kindness and love.
He has no wish to punish you. Be brave and say to him, 'Lord, save your
Let us now say together the RENEW prayer...
God our Father, we thank you for sending us your only Son
to call us to your kingdom. Set us on fire, like his first disciples,
with the power of your Holy Spirit - and use us, as you used them, to
RENEW the face of the earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.