As the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday is a time for reflecting on our humanity, our sins and our mortality. Take a moment to watch this video from The United Methodist Church to discover the history and traditions of Ash Wednesday, as well as how you can participate in this holy day of repentance.
00:00 – Remember that you are dust
00:06 – What is Ash Wednesday?
00:24 – Then and now
00:46 – Repent and believe
For Methodists, observing Ash Wednesday, or using ashes on Ash Wednesday, is a fairly new practice. John Wesley eliminated Lent altogether for Methodists in 1784. American Methodists had no ritual at all for Ash Wednesday until the 1965 Book of Worship, which many Methodist churches and pastors didn’t have. That service made no provision for the use of ashes. The first time The United Methodist Church had an official ritual for Ash Wednesday was in the 1992 Book of Worship, and the use of ashes is optional.
In addition, Elizabeth Christie, Director of Faith Formation at Fritz Memorial UMC in Bethlehem, offers us a fun but informative short video about Ash Wednesday. It’s useful for teaching children and also adults. She produced it for her church; but churches may want to send it to parents or use it for their children’s moment during Sunday worship.
“This is so cool! So real and instructive at the same time, ” says the Rev. Steve Morton, North District Superintendent. “(It’s) helpful in worship, or in preschool settings, or at home. View it here on YouTube.