Easy Explanations: Ash Wednesday
Updated: Dec 15, 2019
Ash Wednesday can be a meaningful time for whole church families to reflect and worship together, but it can also be a stressful time if the focus in “keeping children quiet” rather than inviting them into worship.
Spending 5-10 minutes (even just the car ride!) preparing children for what they might see and hear at the service can help them engage in prayer and worship, too.
What is Ash Wednesday about?
On Ash Wednesday the whole church prays, “God, without you, we are small and weak. We can’t do life by ourselves, even though sometimes we try. Sometimes we choose to disobey. Help us to choose to follow you. Help us to know how to trust you.”
Why do we observe Ash Wednesday?
Ash Wednesday is the first part of a season called Lent. During Lent we tell God we are sorry for our sins, and ask him to help us know his love and forgiveness even deeper in our hearts.
What will happen at church on Ash Wednesday?
At the Ash Wednesday service we get ash marks on our foreheads. This reminds us of when God first made people, he made us out of dust. When we die, our bodies will eventually turn to dust again. Sometimes we forget that we are just dust and think we are stronger. We tell ourselves, “My way is the best!” or “I can be good all by myself!”, or “I don’t want to obey Jesus today!”.
Ash Wednesday is a day of saying with our hearts and our lips, “I’m not good enough. I choose to sin. I’m sorry. Help me to turn away and choose to follow you, God.” After you get ashes on your forehead, look around and see everyone else with their ashes. No matter how young or old or big or small, everyone needs God.
At our Ash Wednesday Service, a pastor will talk about how we worship God in secret instead of to make a show. This is because we don’t do these things so that other people say “Oh! She’s so good!” or, “He must love Jesus a lot!”. When we know in our heart that God says, “I love you! I see you worshiping me!” that’s the best encouragement.