Ash Wednesday Service - and some Lenten links


It was less than two weeks before the start of Lent and I got a call from our pastor asking if Jeremy and I wanted to plan the upcoming Ash Wednesday service. Our church is Protestant, Nazarene, but much more liturgical than the norm and we observe Lent together as a church.

I thought for a second and said I'd talk to Jeremy but since we had almost two weeks, but I thought it would be okay.

I haven't planned a service in a LONG time. But the initial idea was to give some space for those usually involved in the service (worship band, pastors, leaders, etc.), to make the service simple yet special and hands-on for those kinesthetic and tactile learners. Not to mention, make it accessible for all age groups.

It was a challenge! To say the least, but I followed the course of last year's service with some changes and tweaks. The worship pastor did lead an acapella hymn from her seat and our pastors led the corporate confession and imposition of the ashes (both of which we felt were important for the leaders of the congregation to do), but both our goals of simplicity and giving of breaks was mostly accomplished.

We listened to this song and people sang along. I'd loved it to have it performed, but there just wasn't time.

After explaining the reason for Lent and the symbolism of the ashes, we moved to the four stations meant to help all of us enter in to the season together.

One station was a repentance box: I was so moved by the families who all wrote down a confessions together and those adults who moved away from people to write down what they really wanted to repent from. It was completely sincere.

Another was a station of light: I wanted to emulate a Catholic candle stand and it just so happened that we had a similar one in the Student Center all ready to go. With a reminder to have children ask for help, many candles were lit, for repentance, for another person, to lift a prayer to God. A kneeler was placed to the side for those who wanted to pray, reflect or simply watch the candlelight.

from facebook, thanks, B.B.

The third station was forgiveness, where you could write an offense or name of a person you needed to forgive on a sheet of dissolvable paper and stir it as it disappeared into the basin.

Finally, a station of blessing, to bless your friends, your spouse, or your children by anointing them with oil.

Communion and the ashes were offered in the midst of any station and if anyone was finished (or chose not to participate) they could sit in their seats and quietly reflect on Psalm 103.


We were a different face, so that may've engendered some compliments, but overall I was given the impression that it was really meaningful for people. Even yesterday, several people still were saying thank you and telling us that it was meaningful. For this, I am thankful. I put a ton of time and emotional energy into the service, but really, only the Spirit can speak to His people.


As we've journeyed almost two weeks into Lent 2012, here are some Lenten links I've found if you're interested in reading.

My friend, Jess, has some really great words on Lent this year. Her writing is so incredibly thoughtful and beautiful.

Here is a Lenten article on prayer.

Five Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Easter (especially including children) - I handed these ideas out at church and we have our own Easter tree and repentance box at our house. I hope to use more of the ideas in the future with kiddos.

40 Ideas for Lent (for adults)

Happy Lent! May God use it in your life and ours for a time of change, of reflection and of showing us His love.


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