The imposition of ashes on the forehead is an odd, earthy ritual. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” As we keep this traditional Ash Wednesday practice, at the beginning of Lent, we walk with Christians, through the ages, who have done the same thing.
The color of Lent is purple. In a sadistic masquerade, the Gospel writers tell that Roman soldiers put a robe of royal purple on Jesus before putting him to death. The joining of suffering and salvation makes purple an appropriate color to accompany our Lenten services and meditations. Death is the doorway to life. Repentance is the key to overcoming of death, in all its forms, by Christ’s kingly power and grace.
Throughout the Ash Wednesday service, think about turns and changes in your life that will be part of your Lenten discipline. What can you do that renews or increases peace and joy in your life? How can you go deeper into the kingdom of God, that is your inheritance through baptism. The kingdom of God is around you and deep within you.