Ash Wednesday

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Earth Wind and Fire, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Upon looking at my February calendar I noticed that Ash Wednesday is on Feb., 13th. Now I was raised as a RC & to that particular church Ash Wednesday is very significant. Traditionally a RC Priest puts ashes on your forehead as a reminder to you & all that.....Man you are dust & to dust you will return. Then that day ushers in the Lenten season.

    Ive always viewed it as a time for reflection, but knowing its man made, Ive had reservations about this as a traditional practice for a Christian....guess it causes me some conflict. Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. Thinkingstuff

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    Well, just to clarify, for Catholics the significance of Ash Wednesday is that it is the first day of Lent. The idea is to begin the season remembering our sin and the cost of that sin which is death but also its the start of the preparation for the celebration of Jesus' resurrection. So you are right the words the priest speaks is from dust you came and to dust you return but we are to reflect that our mortality was the result of sin and thus look forward to the work of Jesus Christ. During this season we are to take a spiritual inventory of our lives and make plans to attain spiritual goals. Prayer and fasting (if you can) is a way which to also focus our lives around Christ. That is how it is to be observed.

    I don't see how that is a bad thing.
     
  3. Walter

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    As a ''soon to be Catholic'' I have learned we wear the ashes as a sign of acceptance of his gift of salvation and resolution to join our penance with the suffering He endured for our sakes. ''The liturgical use of ashes originates in the Old Testament times. Ashes symbolized mourning, mortality and penance. For instance, in the Book of Esther, Mordecai put on sackcloth and ashes when he heard of the decree of King Ahasuerus (or Xerxes, 485-464 B.C.) of Persia to kill all of the Jewish people in the Persian Empire (Esther 4:1)''

    I agree with TS, I don't see how this can be a bad thing.
     
    #3 Walter, Jan 28, 2013
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  4. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I dont recall....is this considered a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic Calendar?
     
  5. Walter

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    No it is not. But you might think it is by the number people who show up for the imposition of ashes. Ash Wednesday is, lamentably, one of the few times that some people will come to church. Since Ash Weds will soon be upon us, we have been discussing it in RCIA. One instructor was telling us that 'while the ash is an important symbol, it should not detract away from the fact that the Paschal Mystery (the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord) is the central focus of the Church, of our Faith, of our liturgical prayer.'
     
    #5 Walter, Jan 28, 2013
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  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Did not say it was or is a bad thing.....I'm not vilifying it. But wouldn't a serious practicing Christian know this already via his or her bible study? Of course they would....they would have deep humility & gratitude for Gods gifts as well as their place in the world. Therefore, for those who have deep reverence, the act of ashes on the forehead & the reminder of death is at best superficial.

    At my own Christian development stage, I would prefer exegesis on
    1 Corinthians 15:55-56

    55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

    56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
     
  7. Thinkingstuff

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    I understand your perspective certainly. However, just a note on human behavior as I've noticed it. People who are really into Sci Fi or Comic books often go to comic-con and dress up as their favorite hero identifying themselves with that character. Football fans buy Jersies with the number of their favorite player identifying themselves with that player. It seems to me that rooted deep down in our psychi we identify ourselves to the object of our adoration by putting on to ourselves the vestiges of that object. Just because a sci-fi fan or a football fan is no less a fan when they are not "dressed up", dosen't take away from the added value to them in participating by putting on the vestiges of their favorite player or character. In a way to them it is the upomost in giving respect (ie "Imitation is the highest form of compliment") when they do this. It seems to me that a similar attribute is exemplified by participating in Ash Wednesday. A person who is deeply humbled and grateful for the redemptive work of Jesus Christ in their lives will only feel more connected to Christ as they take on the vestiges of mourning over sin and the symbol of the cross to themselves. So what may be a superficial act to one person may be an incredible act of honor to another. Note the sign of the cross in ashes shows who the person belongs to a seal so to speak of our savior. And imitating the actions described in Ez 9:4
    interesting to note the hebrew letter marking the heads is a cross (X).

    As for "death where is thy sting" quote. I like it. It is kind of hard to understand today but the cross is a challenge. In Ancient Rome the cross was the instument of torture and death. Christians because of Christ have taken the symbol of the cross for themselves but back then it was also challenge, in a sense, to the Roman authorities. "Yeah, I'll wear a symbol of your torture and death because I'm not afraid of it. Is this is the worse you can do to me? Death has been overcome for me by one who died on it."
     
  8. Walter

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    Catholics Christians take their journey in Christ together, in a community, and I believe that pleases the Lord. To be Catholic is to participate in the liturgical life of the Church which is its public worship. That is made up of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, which sanctify and make Christ present each day, and the liturgical year with its seasons and celebrations, which sanctify the year. This, I believe, is based on scripture. Read the last chapter of John's gospel, as well as the Last Supper discourse, where Jesus asks for unity among his followers. You may or may not agree with this application of this scripture.

    Of course, many Christians observe Ash Weds and lent even if actual ashes are not imposed. In the town I live in, a very conservative, evangelical Presybterian church is now imposing ashes on Ash Weds. I think more and more churches see the benefit of observing a Lenten season leading up to Easter. Lutheran, Anglicans, Methodist, Orthodox, Catholics, Christian Reformed and even the Mennonite church down the road from me also observe the season of Lent. I remember a Baptist church on the Calfornia Coast where I used to live doing a study in Lent of 'The Purpose Driven Life' and covering a chapter (I believe) a day during Lent.

    I understand what you are getting at EWF and agree that it should also be a natural practice of any serious Christian.
     
  9. DHK

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    It is man-made.
    When I became a Christian:

    2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

    It was one of those "old things" that not only passed away; I threw it away! A pagan practice!

    http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/holidays/ash_wednesday.htm

    It was a far cry from what it is today. The beginning of Lent. As a former RCC, I know what Lent is. I used to give up "chewing bubblegum" for Lent. I never chewed a lot of gum in the first place. So it was with the RCC version of Lent and their definition of "fasting."
     
  10. Earth Wind and Fire

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    You know that if St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday that the Bishop always gives ya a pass to eat corned beef---TRUTH be told. LOL! :D
     
  11. Yeshua1

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    isn't it all a part of pagenism that the Rome churech folded over and tried to make into "Christian tradition?" such as all the saints /festivals/feasts etc?
     
  12. Bro. James

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    Interesting: in some parts of the world the day before Ash Wednesday is called Fat Tuesday. This is the last day of Mardi Gras, one of the world's biggest carnivals(carne=flesh, carnival is to revel in the flesh). Many of the revelers can be seen on Wed. with the cross of ashes on the forehead and a hangover inside the head.

    The Galatians were having troubles with special day and months and times--see Gal. 4:9-11.

    Everything done in the flesh is idolatry--the idol is the flesh. God has zero tolerance of idols.

    Even so, come Lord Jesus.

    Bro. James
     
  13. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Brother, you should spell it out for all the lurkers.....
    Galatians 4:9-11

    King James Version (KJV)

    9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

    10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

    11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
     
  14. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    As far as I could make out, the Roman Catholic meaning attached to "the Paschal Mystery" is the Eucharist and is "the central focus of the Church, of our Faith, of our liturgical prayer". I have read one author who denies, saying Christ's atonement for sins consists not in his "Passion" or "Death", but in the Eucharist and the 'blood' in the wine, drunk, and the 'flesh' in the bread, eaten.

     
    #14 Gerhard Ebersoehn, Jan 29, 2013
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  15. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    GE:

    Now spell it out for all the lurkers.....
    Galatians 4:9-11

    "9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye back again to your former weak and beggarly first principle nogods whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

    10 Ye superstitiously venerate and idolatrously worship days, and months, and times, and years …”


    AMONG WHICH YOU CALL “THE DAY OF THE LORD SUN”, “CHIEF” AND “QUEEN OF DAYS” ---“THINKING TO CHANGE LAW AND TIMES OF GOD” --- AND WILL CHANGE AND BUTCHER HIS WORD IN ORDER TO.

    “11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”

     
  16. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Thinkingstuff
    I don't see how that is a bad thing.


    GE:

    So here is the BAD thing: "the law"!!

    "The true and faithful Witness says: I know you!"

     
  17. Earth Wind and Fire

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    More to the point...the witness says,, it is you I love above all since one can know and still not love. Remember, He is a jealous God & so He comes 1st before mere tradition. May God bless those who struggle with making Him Lord above all.
     
  18. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Then it is up to define what the term means since they brought it up.
     
  19. Walter

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    The Paschal Mystery is the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.
     
  20. Doubting Thomas

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    I think in the context of the day, in which the Church was struggling against the Judaizers in regards to how Gentiles were to be received (as seems to be the background of many of Paul's epistles), these seem to be JEWISH days that Paul is referencing.

    Certainly, there may be an application to those observing Christian holidays, if those are doing so for show, out of habit, or subconsciously trying to score brownie points with God. However, I don't see anything particularly wrong with a day set aside, at the beginning of Lent (which commemorates Christ's fasting in the wilderness) to be reminded of our mortality: "Remember, O Man, from dust thou art and to dust thou wilt return". I see the Church's Liturgical calender being a wonderful teaching aid for growing in the faith as one meditates on the life and work of Christ (and remembers those who have been sanctified by Him), particularly when combined with the Scriptures specific to those days.
     

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