Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. It is somber holiday when we are called to consider our sinful nature and our need for a savior. As a result, it tends not to be the most popular of holidays, and yet it is an important one. For only when one understands their sinful nature, their own wretchedness, can one truly see the need for the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus as their savior.
Many churches have services on Ash Wednesday, including my church—Community of Faith—and the focus is on repentance. As part of the service, the pastor or priest places a cross of ash on the forehead of the worshippers.
Ash and Sackcloth
To repent in ash and sackcloth
Is a concept we scarce understand
To revel in our pleasure and sin
Is a right we fully demand
Yet repent is what God commands us
Deep down we know that we should
Still we cling to our sinful behavior
Thinking obedience will hinder our good
Disobedience displays a lack of trust
That God yearns for our perfect peace
If we repent in ash and sackcloth
Only then will our wretchedness cease