A Devotion for Ash Wednesday: Ashes to Ashes

Carolyn’s Online Magazine (COMe)




SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6, selected verses: “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven—when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you—do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing—when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret—when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret.” (RSV)

DEVOTION: In the Western church, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and the seventh Wednesday before Easter. Its name comes from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of worshipers to symbolize death and sorrow for sin. Traditionally this is accompanied by words from Scripture, “Remember you are dust and will return to dust.” In the Old Testament ashes were used for two purposes—first, as a sign of humility and mortality, and second, as a sign of sorrow and repentance for sin. The Christian connotation for ashes in the liturgy of Ash Wednesday is taken from this Old Testament biblical custom. On Ash Wednesday I look forward to receiving this very visible sign of my mortality and of my intention to repent of sin and renew my spiritual commitment. On this first day in Lent the ashes on my forehead humbly, not pridefully, announce my intention very visibly to anyone I meet. During Lent I plan to do the quiet acts of giving, of prayer, and of fasting that are intended only for the eyes of God.

PRAYER: Loving God, I choose today to announce to all who are ready to hear, my intent to end the Lenten season a changed person because I choose to draw close to you in acts that only you and I will know about. Amen.

During 2016 Rethink Church*, a ministry of the United Methodist (Church) Communications, is sponsoring a Lent photo-a-day challenge based on reflections and perceptions of their word for the day.

Each Thursday during Lent I will post the coming week’s words and matching photos—sometimes with an explanation.

The first word/photo, for Ash Wednesday 2016, is gather.

160207 IMG_8769E

This photo was taken at the Farsang (carnival) Festival held at the Darlington Inn in Darlington (Ligonier Valley), Pennsylvania. This Hungarian festival is a gathering for the last party before Lent. The Farsang Festival includes a funeral for Old Man Winter, after which he is burned in effigy before members of the gathering enjoy a pre-Lent feast.


Links to 2016 Lent photo-a-day challenges.

Rethink Church Lenten Photos 2016: Week 1

Rethink Church Lenten Photos 2016: Week 2



See also:

Ash Wednesday: Sackcloth and Ashes

(Guest Writer: The Rev. Monte W. Holland)

A Lent Quiz 11 Facts About Lent


NOTE: Lent Studies:


the predecessor to Carolyn’s Online Magazine {COMe}

Three Lent Studies…Begin Ash Wednesday 2/13/2013

Ash Wednesday: Intro to Lenten Study on the Seven Deadly Sins

Post List for the Lenten Study: The Seven Deadly Sins

Post List for A Daily Online Lenten Study

26 Devotions Based on the Alphabet: Introduction

About carolyncholland

In several if my nine lives I have been a medical lab technician and a human service worker specializing in child day care, adoptions and family abuse. Currently I am a photo/journalist/writer working on a novel and a short story. My general writings can be viewed at www.carolyncholland.wordpress.com. My novel site is www.intertwinedlove.wordpress.com.
This entry was posted in BIBLICAL, DEVOTIONS, Easter/Holy Week, Lent/Easter. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A Devotion for Ash Wednesday: Ashes to Ashes

  1. Grace ( & Fred) Wells says:

    Good thoughts ! btw have y’all ever celebrated Shrove Tuesday ?


  2. Pingback: Rethink Church Lenten Photos 2016: Week 1 | Carolyn's Online Magazine

  3. Grace ( & Fred) Wells says:

    Might be fun to attend a Farsang Festival – never heard of it before now


  4. Pingback: Rethink Church Lenten Photos 2016: Week 2 | Carolyn's Online Magazine

  5. Pingback: Rethink Church Lenten Photos 2016: Week 3 | Carolyn's Online Magazine

  6. Pingback: Rethink Church Lenten Photos 2016: Week 4 | Carolyn's Online Magazine

  7. Pingback: Rethink Church Lenten Photos 2016: Week 5 | Carolyn's Online Magazine

  8. Pingback: Rethink Church Lenten Photos 2016: Week 6 | Carolyn's Online Magazine

  9. Pingback: Rethink Church Lenten Photos 2016: Week 7 | Carolyn's Online Magazine

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