The 1979 Book of Common Prayer instructs the officiant to say the following words each Ash Wednesday:
Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful, were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.
Ashes are imposed on the foreheads of the Faithful as part of the reminder that though we be mortal, if we die in Christ, we shall be raised anew in Christ.
We invite you to join on Ash Wednesday for either the 12noon or the 7pm service. All baptized Christians are invited to make their Holy Communion at either service, and ashes will be imposed at both.
And please consider attending each Sunday of Lent:
- March 6: The First Sunday in Lent
- March 13: The Second Sunday in Lent
- March 20: The Third Sunday in Lent
- March 27: The Fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare)
- April 3: The Fifth Sunday in Lent
The entire season anticipates Holy Week and Easter Day, the very heart of the Christian year.
Please also note the following Lenten opportunities:
- A 4-week Lenten Study on Milton’s Paradise Lost beginning March 10
- Lenten Meditation Concerts on March 6, March 13, and March 20 at 4pm
- A Sunday morning Bible Study on Genesis beginning March 6
Finally, when considering what sacrifice you might make for Lent, and what alms you might offer, consider this–