Messy ashes mark a messy life

Ash Wednesday is next week. Put this on your calendar: 7 PM, Ash Wednesday service at the downtown FUMC church. Mark this as a family event. Your kids need the experience.

I don’t mean that they need experience in worship.

They need to experience the marking process.

Ash Wednesday is an invitation for us to confess the messes we’ve made in our lives. That is what the marking of ashes on our foreheads means: Yes God, we admit it. We need your forgiveness. And thankfully forgiveness is possible!

Official U.S. Navy Imagery - Ash Wednesday aboard USS Abraham Lincoln.

Why would it be important for children to attend and participate in an Ash Wednesday service where ashes are applied to foreheads?
  • To see all of those big people whom they look up to, getting marked with a cross of ash. Picture this thought process: Hmmm, making mistakes and messing up is something that everyone does! I too can be forgiven!
  • To feel the marking of simple strokes of a pastor’s thumb in the shape of a cross on their forehead — the cross reminding them of what Christ did for them.
  • To hear the words spoken by the pastor, which may be something about how the old has died; words that can be scary but not when tied to the gift of Resurrection. I can let go of what has happened in the past.
  • To experience the sense of belonging; they too are marked. I am part of the family of God!

Click here to print out a free, one-page questions/answers sheet on Ash Wednesday and Lent. Use it to discuss these topics prior to or after the Ash Wednesday service.



Photo credits…
Receiving ashes aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, by Benjamin T. Liston. This image is in the public domain.

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