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Ash Wednesday - A Sojourn To Stay

Updated: Jun 17, 2023

Ash Wednesday signifies the beginning of Lent and is always 46 days before Easter Sunday. Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) which involves fasting, repentance, forgiveness, reflection and ultimately victory. This 40-day period symbolizes Jesus' temptation in the wilderness, where he fasted and where Satan tempted him.

Ash Wednesday Liturgy

During Mass, (Catholics are traditionally known to observe Lent) or worship service (for Protestants), the priest or five fold ministry leader will usually share a penitential and reflective sermon. The atmosphere of Ash Wednesday services are strategically solemn because it is intended to focus on the sufferings of Jesus. Ash Wednesday services traditionally have long periods of silence instead of more exuberant praise.

In the midst of the liturgy, there is a responsive passage of Scripture, usually centered around confession, read aloud by the leader of the service. Usually, attendees will experience communal confession and moments where they are prompted to confess sins silently and pray.

The atmosphere of Ash Wednesday services are strategically solemn because it is intended to focus on the sufferings of Jesus.

After all of this, attendees receive the ashes on their foreheads. Usually, the leader of the service will dip his or her finger into the ashes, spread them in a cross pattern on the forehead, and say, “From dust you came and from dust you will return.”

Important Dates of Lent



Ash Wednesday

​The beginning of Lent, a day to signify reflection and repentance


Palm Sunday

Jesus's triumphant entry into Jerusalem


Holy Week

The week leading to Easter

4/2/23 - 4/8/23

Maundy Thursday

Commemorates the foot washing and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles


Good Friday

Reflection of the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary


Easter Sunday

Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and His victory over sin and death


What Does Fasting Look Like For Ash Wednesday?

The exact rules and practices of Lent have changed over the years. In the early centuries, fasting rules were strict, as they still are in Eastern churches. The Eastern Church allows one meal a day was allowed in the evening, and meat, fish, eggs, and butter were forbidden. Additionally, the Eastern church also restricts the use of wine, oil, and dairy products during Lent. In the West, fasting rules for Lent are much more relaxed. According to Britannica, the strict fasting laws among Roman Catholics was dispensed with during World War II, and only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are now kept as Lenten fast days.

A Sojourn To Stay

I love the word "sojourn". According to Merriam Webster, a sojourn is a temporary stay, which is fitting for this lenten season. As we intentionally set time aside for Lent, let us draw our attention to the space between the inn that couldn't hold any more room to the empty tomb. Over the next forty days, let us make a commitment to stay with Jesus.

Over the next forty days, let us make a commitment to stay with Jesus.

Let's stay with Jesus and hear him weep over the stubborn hearts and turn the tables (Luke 19: 41-46).

Let's stay with Jesus and feel the pain of betrayal (John 13: 21-27).

Let's stay with Jesus and see the crowds cry "Hosanna!" and then "Crucify him (Luke 19:37-38, Luke 23:21)!"

Let's stay with Jesus and witness the disciples’ pledge their loyalty and then abandon him when he needed them (Matthew 26:35, Matthew 26:56).

During Lent, we will stay with Jesus and reflect of the fragility of our own humanity.

We are stubborn hearts.

We were once lost in religious jargon and in need of a table flipping wake up call.

We are the crowds that cry "Hosanna" and "Crucify him".

We are the timid disciples.

And Jesus Christ of Nazareth is our Savior.

During Lent, we will stay with Jesus and reflect of the fragility of our own humanity.

We still stay with Jesus and feel His grief when He calls Judas, “friend,” (Matthew 26:50).

We will still stay with Jesus and believe His voice when He tells Peter, “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers,” (Luke 22:32).

We will stay with Jesus and receive his love His mercy when He cries, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing,” (Luke 22:34).

For the next 40 days of Lent, we will stay with Jesus...

to see,

to intercede,

to cry,

to heal,

to forgive,

to believe,

to remember.

Scriptures For Lent

Genesis 3:19

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.

Psalm 51:7- 10

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”

Matthew 6:21

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

John 10:10

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”


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CEO, Koinonia Training and Consulting

CEO, The Dee Evans Group


Dr. Dee Evans is an internationally recognized consultant and life coach. She has been awarded several leadership awards and she is a respected educator and Christian leader. She is the author of several books, which include: "God, I'm Disappointed, Procrastination: A Kingdom Perspective on the Theology of Work".

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