Ashes – and the spring of the year!
If you are like I am, you most likely paid no attention to the calendar date again this year! The day is called Ash Wednesday, and this year the designed day was Wednesday, February 10. Now that day was Ash Wednesday. So, just as you and I may be very aware of the days and the weeks until Passover this spring, millions of people began on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 10th this year) to count down the 40 days of the Lenten season.
The 40 days supposedly begin with Ash Wednesday, and then culminate with Easter Sunday. Now, let’s see if your math is better than my math! Can you count 40 days from Feb. 10th to this year’s date for Easter Sunday – which will be Sunday March 27th? Feb. 10 through Feb. 29 would be 20 days, right? And another 20 days would take us through March 20th, right? But 40 days should take us to Easter, March 27th – not just to Sunday, March 0th? What? Just one question: Is anyone confused yet?
A newspaper article explains it this way. “Ash Wednesday begins the 40 days of Lent, observed by many Christians as a preparation for Easter… In the Bible, ashes are a symbol of sorrow and a mark of penance…” And so, on Ash Wednesday, many people wear a smudge of ashes on their forehead as a symbol of their penance.
But wait a minute! What’s this ritual called PENANCE – and where is it actually mentioned in the Bible?
Penance – according t the dictionary – is “any act of self-punishment for a sin or wrongdoing.” Penance is NOT in the Bible, but REPENTANCE IS in the Bible!
John Cafourek (1945-2017) served in the ministry of Jesus Christ with his wife, Sandy, for 46 years.
John was born in South Dakota. He attended Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, from 1965 to 1969, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He received a Master’s Degree in psychological counseling from Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in 1978. John pastored churches in Nebraska, North Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi, Washington, and Oregon.