St Mary & St John
Wednesday 14th February, 7.30pm
Sung Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes (setting: John Merbecke. Address: The Vicar)
Since early days Christians have observed with great devotion the time of our Lord’s passion and resurrection and prepared for this by a season of penitence and fasting. This was originally a time when those who were to be baptised at Easter were instructed in the Christian faith. In course of time it became customary for the whole Christian community to join them in study and self-reflection, through a period of forty days, corresponding to the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, being tested by Satan. Ashes are an ancient sign of penitence; from the middle ages it became the custom to begin Lent by being marked in ash with the sign of the cross. ‘Sackcloth and ashes’ are, Biblically, the garb of penitence.
By carefully keeping these days, Christians take to heart the call to repentance and the assurance of forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel, and so grow in faith and in devotion to our Lord. We keep 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.