John Knox Community Preschool

What is Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday is a Christian Holy Day marking the beginning of Lent.  Lent is a six week season of preparation for Easter. Ash Wednesday, like other Christian Holy Days such as Christmas and Easter, is not biblically mandated although it is shaped by a biblical theology of creation, sin, mortality, death, grace and salvation.  Around the tenth century, all believers began to signify their need for repentance by having ashes, in the shape of a cross, placed on their foreheads.  A very tangible expression of their mortality.  The ashes were from the burnt palm branches used on Palm Sunday.  The visual of Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Branches, knowing that He was coming to die for our sins is powerful.  Convicting really.  How perfect that the ashes of those branches be used to remind us of our own impending mortality.  How perfect that those palm ashes be used to remind us that our sin is what brought Jesus to suffer and die. How perfect that the ashes be made in the sign of the cross!

Ash Wednesday is a time to acknowledge our mortality.  To admit that from dust we came and to dust we shall return Genesis 3:19. To admit that our sin is what nailed Jesus to the cross.  Galatians 5: 24 Morose right?  Not as believers!  As believers we are able to stare death in the face with the assurance of life, eternal life.  When we know our lives are safe in the hands of God, our physical life is just the beginning of eternity, then we can face our mortality without fear. 1 Peter 2:24 The emotional result of Ash Wednesday isn’t sadness but rather Gratitude for a savior and New Energy for living.

This year on February 18th we will have be a short service geared for young children observing Ash Wednesday at John Knox.  Class times remain the same but we hope you and your children will join us at 12:10 – 12:25pm in the main sanctuary.

It promises to be a meaningful time for us to gather as a community of believers seeking to pass our faith on to our children in a format they can attain.

2 Comments

Amy Denney Zuniga

2016-01-12 03:46:01 Reply

I am planning an Ash Wednesday service for my preschoolers and parents this year and am having trouble finding resources (or any other examples at all!) of such a service– would you mind sharing what you do?

    Marla Evans

    2016-01-29 10:24:05 Reply

    Hi Amy,
    Our service is extremely short and simple. A five-minute message is shared regarding sin (we all do) and that it separates us from God. Easter changes everything! We explain that we put ashes in the shape of a cross as a reminder.
    Some things we’ve learned:
    1. the child’s adult needs to be present, or a permission slip signed allowing another adult to bring the child.
    2. the children need to be told that the ashes are not hot and will not burn them
    3. a child’s height, a full-length mirror for them to see themselves after being ashed is incredibly powerful and helpful in processing with them.
    4. We hand out child-friendly lent calendar countdowns for the kids to take home after the service.
    In all the service is about 10 – 15 minutes. No singing, just a short story and the ashing.

    Hope this helps!

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