Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a season when God calls us to reflect on the meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection. The imposition of ashes – when you receive ashes in the sign of the cross on your forehead – sets the tone for Lent. Each moment you encounter your reflection, your ashes are a striking reminder that “you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19b). But the cross, a symbol of Jesus’ crucifixion, offers hope.
Similarly, in baptism, you received the sign of the cross on your forehead. Many of us begin our Christian life with baptism, called “to live among God’s faithful people, to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth” (ELW 236). In the ELCA, we describe these instructions as faith practices to guide our daily living.
This Lent, as you begin your journey toward the baptismal waters of Easter, we invite you to take up faith practices as a spiritual discipline.