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  • Kate Benjamin

Secondary: Monday Week 3, Term 1

Ash Wednesday


·      Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent, which is 40 days (not counting Sundays).

·      The 40 days represents the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by the devil, before his arrest, Crucifixion and then resurrection 3 days later – the time known as Easter.

·      For us now, the period of Lent signifies a time of fasting, prayer and repentance, prior to the celebration of Easter.

·      Because Lent is a time of sacrifice and living simply, it is a tradition to get rid of all food items known to be indulgent the day beforehand, which is called Shrove Tuesday. Items like eggs, flour and milk were seen as luxury items, and are also the key ingredients to pancakes, which is why it is common practice to cook and eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.

·      Meat was also considered a luxury item, so on Ash Wednesday those of the Christian faith traditionally don’t eat meat. The other day that this practice is observed is Good Friday, another day during Lent of repentance and sacrifice.

·      On Ash Wednesday, it is required that Christians attend a service to prepare for the upcoming time of living simply, reflection and prayer.

·      During the Ash Wednesday liturgy, the sign of the cross is rubbed on foreheads using ashes, representing mourning and repentance. These ashes are traditionally gathered from the burning of palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday.

·      The cross drawn on the forehead symbolises the cross Jesus died upon to free us from our sins, and also signifies that we aren’t always perfect and need God’s forgiveness.

·      As Lent is a time of reflection, many Christians take this time to pay particular attention to praying, living simply and even sacrifice – perhaps giving up something for the period of Lent that they enjoy, for example eating chocolate, junk food, or watching TV. It is also an opportunity to take something up or do more of to help others. These can be referred to as Lenten Promises.



Dear Lord,

At this time of reflection, teach us to be thankful for the goodness You have given us.

At this time of fasting and sacrifice, teach us to be grateful for the food we eat, and remind us that not everybody is as fortunate as us.

At this time of forgiveness, teach us to be merciful towards others and remember the sacrifice of Your son, Jesus Christ.

At this time of prayer, teach us to listen to Your Word.

We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.

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