Churches Observe Ash Wednesday


By Catalina Trivino

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent...
In this edition of Faith Matters, Alabama News Network visited one church to see how members there observe the day...


For many Christians, it's a time of reflection and self-examination for one of the most important days of faith.

Ash Wednesday is the traditional start of Lent.

"It is a time of observance. It is more subdued in the sense that even though we celebrate the forgiveness of sins, that God has given us that we also remind ourselves that we have a part to play," Said rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Reid McCormick.

On Ash Wednesday, members at St. Thomas Episcopal Church placed ashes on their foreheads as a sign of repentence -- a special moment for many Christians, including Janis Odom.

"It's just a very absolute feeling of how much I love God and how devoted I am to being of service to him," Said Odom.

She says it sets the tone for what you want to accomplish in the next 40 days.

"The 40 days represents the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness, after he was baptized he went into the wilderness, and was tempted by Satan and struggled and wrestled just as we do as human beings," Said McCormick. 

He says the ashes used are burned from the palms of Palm Sunday from the year before. And while a major marker of Lent is sacrifice, he says it's also a time to take on something.

"In lent, it's this idea of we're willing to just try to do something outwardly that will really bless us inwardly and spiritually in a way that would be transforming and would be pleasing to God," Said McCormick.

McCormick says the ash placed on the forehead is not only a sign of mortality but also a sign of sin and a stepping stone in the life of faith.

Every Wednesday throughout Lent, St. Thomas Episcopal Church will have a special noon service with ministries of other denominations. Members hope this will help unite Christians in the community.

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