It is the beginning of Lent, a 40 day time of preparing and an appreciation of God’s great love and sacrifice leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion – to carry our sins and burdens when we did not deserve it.
- It is to remember how much greater God is than anything else: It stirs the water in our soul to remember we are mortal, but God is eternal, mighty, Creator and knew us before we were even born.
- It is a call to perspective again: It helps us gain perspective and choose right paths which move towards God rather than walking with worldly ways. We reject anything which would take us down the wrong path (sin) and welcome God’s control and direction in our lives.
- It is a call to faith again: a moment to thank God for all He has done for us – throughout our life and to remember those moments.
- It is a time, the start of a season: to read scripture, pray, and reflect on actions God as ruler over life demands we take.
- It is an alarm, a “funny” word, that God is returning at the end of time, and we need to be ready for His return with loving our neighbors as ourselves and loving God fully.
Ashes are a symbol throughout scripture of repentance. Ashes or Dust thrown on clothes in the scriptures was to essentially say, “I am really nothing; I have done wrong; O my God, I am sorry,” in the most heartfelt of ways. Ashes were thrown on clothes to signify death. We are truly dead without God – a deadened life, deadened ears to others, deadened perspectives, and dead to eternal life and goodness.
Here are a few places in the Bible which talk about the use of ashes: