If you’re like me, then you might not be familiar with the tradition of Ash Wednesday. This article explains it pretty well.
Oh mighty God,
We are dust of the ground and to dust we shall return. We pray that this reality, the reality of death, sin, darkness and human frailty, would humble us this Ash Wednesday. Remind us of our mortality, oh God, and, in doing so, remind us of your immortality. Help us see our helplessness.
We pause for a somber moment today to remember that you became man, born of woman, from the dust, and that you died and were buried in the ground. All hope was lost (“why have you forsaken me?”). And all hope is lost, were it not for your risen body, which emerged from the grave three days later.
So burden our hearts with hopelessness, that we may properly feel the burden as it is lifted by your power and your grace. Paint our head with ashes, so we may one day see your crown of glory. Make us your people God: hopelessly hopeful, and ever reliant upon you.