In more than three decades of my Christian life, I have been blest by 2 types of Daily devos'
(matter not exceeding 500 words) in universal Christian literature. Not only those Devos'
which have a different theme everyday but also the ones which revolve around a certain
theme over a period of time, say a fortnight, have richly edified me. In fact, both
styles have their own inherent advantages. If the former style caters to the varying
spiritual needs of a christian from day-to-day, the latter aims 'to ground'
a child of God in a certain subject in order he derives the full benefits of the
deep insightful study of a certain topic, spread over a fixed span of time.
In my Daily devo page, I have consciously tried to go in for 'a blend of both the
styles' whereby within a constant theme, I would be aiming to focus on different
facets of it which admittedly is a closer imitation of the 'Constant theme' style
than the 'Varying topics' one.
Having dwelt on the topic of Christian journey and the “Conquest of Canaan”
in the previous months, now in the month of March, considering that
we are in the season of Lent, I intend to focus on the subject- “Lent season”.
Once again, let me wish you a happy and an edifying read…
Ash Wednesday service
“…for dust you are and to dust you will return.”-
As stated yesterday it would be worthwhile to get the historical perspective to the solemn
Ash Wednesday service. The name 'Day of Ashes' comes from "Dies Cinerum" in the Roman Missal
and is found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary. The concept
originated by the Roman Catholics somewhere in the 6th century. Though the exact origin of
the day is not clear, the custom of marking the head with ashes on this Day is said to
have originated during the papacy of Gregory the Great (590-604).
In the Old Testament ashes were found to have used for two purposes: as a sign
of humility and mortality; and as a sign of sorrow and repentance for sin.
The Christian connotation for ashes in the liturgy of Ash Wednesday has
also been taken from this Old Testament biblical custom. Receiving ashes
on the head as a reminder of mortality and a sign of sorrow for sin was a
practice of the Anglo-Saxon church in the 10th century. It was made universal
throughout the Western church at the Synod of Benevento in 1091.The 'ashes'
used are gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous years' Palm Sunday
ceremonies are burned and are then, in the liturgical practice, mixed with the Oil
of the Catechumens, which is one of the oils used to anoint all those who are baptised.
This paste is used by the Priest, who presides at the Mass, to make the sign of the cross,
firstly upon his own forehead and then on each of those present, who kneel before him at the
altar rail, as he recites the words 'Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return'.
As I said earlier, it was with noblest of motives that this ritual was instituted as the solemn
words 'Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return' are bound to make an unrepentant
soul ponder on the fact that he has very little time to make right his relationship with the One
who has created him, besides making even the back-slidden believers aware of their need to
repent and return to their first love
(Rev 2:5) in the limited time they have at their disposal.
Those who are reading this material, if you have never accepted Christ as your personal saviour,
what better time than now and those who have back-slidden after tasting His love what better time
to make amends than now. Tommorrow may be too late
(II Cor 6:1-2)!
Father, once again we simply commit ourselves into Thy hands to live a life pleasing
unto Thee. We know your grace sustains us but if there is anything hindering
the flow of your love and power in our lives, we pray that You would remove it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.