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Ash Wednesday marks start of Lent Features The Edmond Sun
EDMOND There a chance Wednesday evening you saw someone at a convenience store or local restaurant with an ashen cross on their forehead.
Why is this so? What do the ashes represent?
On Ash Wednesday, Christians in Edmond and brethren around the world attended services marking the beginning of Lent. Lent is a season of turning away from sin, reflection and fasting meant to prepare the faithful for Easter, the celebration of Jesus resurrection.
In Catholic tradition, the faithful are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Ash Wednesday Mass, and there the priest dips his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks the forehead of each with the sign of the cross and utters the words, man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.
Fr. John Metzinger, senior pastor at The Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist of Edmond, said the ashes remind the faithful that they are nothing without God.
call us to turn away from sin and to be faithful to the gospel, Metzinger said. Ash Wednesday, we embark upon a spiritual journey of prayer, fasting and works of charity, seeking to approach Easter with minds and hearts renewed.
Metzinger said biblical roots for Ash Wednesday include scripture from Jonah.
When Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh, not only did the people, great and small, put on sackcloth. the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust, Jonah 3:6 NIV.
Jonah decreed that all should fast, cry loudly to God and turn from their evil ways. God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil way, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened, Jonah 3:10 NIV.
Scripture related to the imposition of ashes is found in Genesis 3:19.
Metzinger said that in the early church, Lent was a time for the reconciliation of public penitents. The penitents would come to the church at the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday. They would wear penitential garments, like sackcloth, and be sprinkled with ashes.
They would be ritually sent forth to do penance for 40 days, returning to the church on Holy Thursday, when they would be readmitted to the sacraments, Metzinger said. Eventually the expulsion of penitents was no longer practiced, but the ashes remained, he said.
became a sign of the call to penance for all the faithful, Metzinger said.
Chris Shorow, senior pastor at Edmond First Christian Church, pointed to the history about Lent beginning as a time for new converts to prepare for their baptisms.
Lent itself came about as the time when early Christians completed several years worth of study. During Holy Week, the week before Easter Sunday, they were taught about basics of the faith such as the Lord Prayer. This was a preparation for their baptism on Easter.
Don Heath, pastor of Edmond Trinity Christian Church, encouraged Christians to recover the ancient practice of fasting during Lent. Fasting is a spiritual discipline reflecting solidarity with the poor, and it reminds believers of Christ temptation in the wilderness, Heath said.
Heath urged Christians to fast in a significant way, and said this year for Lent he will give up breakfast, beef and pork.
will be participating in an ancient spiritual practice that early Christians engaged in for several centuries, Heath said. will bring you close to the poor and to Christ.
Metzinger said Ash Wednesday remains one of the most popular days in the liturgical calendar. 108
Benefit dinner and auction scheduled to help Lilyfield Christian Adoption and Foster Care
Lilyfield Christian Adoption and Foster Care will host the annual benefit dinner and auction on Aug. 16. The event will be held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and will help raise funds to support adoption and foster care programs. The theme for the event is on the Heart.
agency continues to grow and serve more children and families, said executive director Holly Towers. benefit dinner and auction is a great way to help make a difference in the life of a child in need.
Participants will have a chance to bid on items during the live and silent auction portion of the event as well as hear from John Sowers, President of the Mentoring Project.
Lawmakers, churches to discuss lessons from Zimmerman trial
Representatives from the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, Northeast Church of Christ and Fairview Missionary Baptist Church will discuss the outcome of the State of Florida verses George Zimmerman trial.
On Feb. 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot and killed, according to the City of Sanford Blue Ribbon Panel Report dated June 4, 2013. There was no immediate arrest; Zimmerman admitted to the shooting but claimed self defense.
The government timeline in response to the shooting was perceived by many to be racially motivated, according to the report. The incident attracted the interest of religious organizations, social justice advocates, civil rights leaders and law enforcement oversight groups around the country.