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Lutherans to observe Imposition of Ashes

Contributed by Rev. Erwin Lueker | Redeemer Lutheran Church
Early Christians observed fasting and repentance for 46 days (40 weekdays, plus six Sundays) prior to the celebration of Easter.
This 40 day period is called “Lent” and is a Middle English word coming from the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) term “lencten” referring to the lengthening of days during this time of the year. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18 this year, with the Imposition of Ashes, which is symbolic of wearing sackcloth and pouring ashes over one's head as an outward sign of repentance.
Today, Christians use palm branches saved from last year’s Palm Sunday which are burned to form the ash which is applied to the forehead in the form of a cross. The minister usually says: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Turn away from sin and be Faithful to Christ.”
Lent is a time for repentance, spiritual reflection, and prayer.
Jesus Christ spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he was tempted by Satan, but repelled Satan. Jeremiah 6:26 quotes the prophet Jeremiah saying: “O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes” and then he calls for repentance. Daniel 9:3 states that Daniel turned to the Lord in earnest prayer, fasting, wearing sackcloth and ashes. Moses repented and fasted 40 days over the Israelites having made their Golden calf. Biblically there are many more calls for and examples of repentance with fasting, wearing sackcloth and using ashes.
Redeemer Lutheran Church, 234 West F Street, Elizabethton, will hold a service to observe the Imposition of Ashes at 7 p.m. on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18, and invites anyone who would like to receive the Imposition of Ashes to attend.