What is Ash Wednesday?

What is Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday, also known as the “Day of Ashes” is the first day of the season of Lent.  It occurs 46 days before Easter.  Ash Wednesday and Lent are extra-Biblical holidays, meaning that they are based on traditions from centuries past, but are not mentioned in the Bible.  Lent is often associated with Catholic, Orthodox, and Lutheran churches along with others.

It is wise to have a Biblical point of view in regards to religious celebrations.  While taking time to remember Christ's work on the cross and the events preceeding his crucifiction is a wonderful activity, Christians are not commanded in the scriptures to celebrate Lent, Ash Wednesday or even to make Easter a special holiday.  God is not impressed by someone practicing a ritual to gain acceptance or forgiveness.  Instead, Jesus warned the Pharisees of celebrations without faith.

Mark 7:6-8  And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;  (7)  in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'  (8)  You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men."

The pattern of the scriptures tells us that the Apostles and the first Christians regularly celebrated the Lord’s Supper to commemorate the Lord’s death and resurrection on the first day of the week meaning that we should be celebrating Christ's work on the cross 52 times a year in stead of just once.

 

1 Corinthians 11:26  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
Acts 20:7  On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.
Lent is supposed to be a period when sinful habits are left behind for the 40 days leading up to Easter.  The act of putting ashes on one's forehead is a sign of repentance from sin.  The preceding festivals of drunkenness on Fat Tuesday and Madi Gras show that there is a terrible misunderstanding or ignorance of the scriptures since a Christians should refrain and avoid sinful habits all of the time, not just during the days of Lent.  

 

1 Thessalonians 5:22  Abstain from every form of evil.

1 Thessalonians 4:3  For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality


During the period of Lent, some foods such as beef or pork are avoided as a penance for some sin.  This too, is a curious teaching since the scripture teach the exact opposite in regards to forbidding what a Christian may eat.

1 Timothy 4:1-4  Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,  (2)  through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,  (3)  who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.  (4)  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
Ash Wednesday Dates
March 9, 2011
February 22, 2012
February 13, 2013
March 5, 2014
February 18, 2015

 

Shad David Sluiter