Today is Ash Wednesday which marks 40 days before Easter Sunday, which is also referred to as the season of Lent. Before I began to reflect and read up on the meaning of Ash Wednesday, I was listening to a CD in the car and the speaker said that we should start our days with repentance so that God can move on our behalf. He was saying that our sin will block God from working. For me, I was thinking of my need to forgive.
Ash Wednesday is traditionally a day of repentance. That’s what the ashes are about. Today, people attend gatherings where they might hear a talk on repentance and then line up to get some ashes placed on their foreheads. In ancient times people would heap ashes on themselves as a physical act during their repentance. My reflection is that people leave the ashes on their heads all day as a witness and a reminder of what the day is about. The ashes are also applied in the shape of a cross, as a reminder that the cross is the place where the debt of sin is payed for.