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Region: England, Wales and Northern Ireland

RE:QUEST

A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith

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Easter: Ash Wednesday

The beginning of Lent

Ash Wednesday is the day after Shrove Tuesday and signals the start of Lent. It is called ‘Ash Wednesday’ because Lent is a time when people are sorry for the wrong things in their lives and ashes are used in the Bible as a sign of sadness.

Some churches have a special part in a service called 'ashing'. As a way of showing sorrow for wrong things done, and as a reminder that all die, the priest makes a sign of the cross in ashes on the forehead of each person. The ashes are usually made from burning palm crosses that were kept from Palm Sunday the previous year.

Lent is a time when Christians think about the things they have done and the way that God wants them to live. Saying sorry to God by confessing our sins - owning up to the wrong things we have done - is a more important part of people's worship and prayer during Lent.

A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

Loving God,

you create us from the dust of the earth;

may these ashes be for us a sign

of our penitence and our mortality,

and a reminder that only by the cross

do we receive eternal life

in Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.