Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent—the 40 days of preparation for Easter. One traditional way to commemorate this day is by applying to the forehead ashes in the shape of a cross, as a reflection on our mortality: “We are dust, and to dust we shall return.”
Both within the church and outside of it, people generally focus exclusively on life unlessconfronted with death. Sometimes, we may even be tempted to moralize this by saying, “We are a people of hope, we should think only of life and resurrection!” So why do churches designate a day every year, Ash Wednesday, to think on death?
The artist in me might say that it’s to emphasize the power of the story of the resurrection. The Lenten season starts with death on Ash Wednesday and then ends with life on Easter. The power of this story is in its chronological order: After death comes life.
But if those things seem too abstract for you, the most logical reason to consider death is to gain wisdom (Ps. 90:12). In his 2005 Stanford commencement speech, Steve Jobs said, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”
Tonight, we’ll reflect together in worship at our Ash Wednesday service at 7pm, both in person and online. Pastor Ryan will be sharing God’s words about death, given to gain wisdom for life. Hope to see you there.
Westminster Chapel Financials at a Glance
As of 2/19/23 Actual Plan Giving to Date: 2,217,711 2,540,576 Church Operating Expenses to Date: 2,139,312 2,415,593 Difference 78,399 124,983