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Ash WednesdayTHE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS by Rev. Dr. Bruce Allen Heggen

Sisters and Brothers: Grace and Peace from God who gives us life and longing, and from Jesus Christ, our Centre and our Saviour. Amen.
. . . . The Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, has given us a poem he called “Easter 1916.” The poem recalls an act of terrorism: On Easter Sunday, 1916, sixteen ordinary Irishmen blew up a Dublin bank in protest of the English occupation of Northern Ireland. In the poem Yeats tells of time spent with these friends, men and women, both; he remembers mornings together over coffee in a coffee shop, and evenings together in a pub; he recalls the relaxed way in which this seemed to be how things had always been, how things would always be: and then he writes: Now all is changed, changed utterly. A terrible beauty is born. (1)

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Reflection on the Ashes by By Fr Jim Tucker

Receiving the ashes today at the beginning of the season of Lent calls to mind two things. The use of ashes, which goes back to the Old Testament, symbolizes the contrition and humility of the sinner before the all-just God. Like the penitents of old, we "put on sack-cloth and ashes" as a sign of repentance for the evil we have done.

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Ash Wednesday imageThe Book of Common Prayer: Ash Wednesday

*On this day, the Celebrant begins the liturgy with the Salutation and the Collect of the Day.*

Let us pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wickedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
=Amen.=

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A Meditation for Ash Wednesday By The Very Rev Michael J.Pitts, Dean
Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal

As we begin Lent, this year, three words seem to me to present the themes of the season, Temptation, Renunciation and Repentance. But as we delve into Scripture and the Christian tradition, each of those words has a rather different meaning from the way in which we commonly use it.

Temptation, in common use, means enticement. But in Scripture, the one who tempts most often, is God, and God certainly does not entice us. When God tempts, what he is doing is testing, testing the faith and obedience of his people. When we pray each day “Lead us not into temptation” the word takes on an even more special meaning, for what is referred to here is the great eschatological time of trial, when the earth is shaken, when good and evil are revealed, when we have to make choices and decisions of ultimate and final importance for ourselves and for society.

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Ash Wednesday By John Kimbrough

Lent is an extended time of preparation for Easter. For most Christians Lent begins on Wednesday and ends the Saturday evening before Easter Sunday, for a total of 46 days. (The Eastern Orthodox churches observe a longer period.) Lent is a time to reflect on the meaning of Easter and the events leading up to it.

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent. Some Christians used to observe this season by separating themselves from the community. On Ash Wednesday these penitents would be clothed in sackcloth and be marked with ashes by the local priest. They would then go into seculsion, usually at a nearby monastery. Over time the custom of ashes spread to include everyone who attended church. (Sackcloth-wearing, meanwhile, declined--although don't let me discourage you if you're interested...)

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"Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return."