We have been in – what in church language is called – Ordinary Timefor the last seven weeks. This coming Wednesday we begin our journey to Easter. It will be Ash Wednesday.The church will look quite different; it will have a Lentenlook: The Cross, the burlap, the ashes, the banners, the purple. The Scripture readings and the music will sound different too as part of the Lenten repertoire.But that still remains limited to what happens in the church building. The ideal is that it also inspires and reflects what we do at home, at our work even, at our places and times of entertainment. What we hear, see and experience at church is meant to underline the fact that as Christians (which is not restricted to the time we spend in the church building) we are signing up for our journey to Easter when we will have our Baptismrenewed! That is what it is all about: getting ready for Easter!
We begin that journey towards Easter with receiving the ashes at the Ash Wednesday Service on Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m.
Receiving the ashes is a sign that we want to be serious about the upcoming season of renewal and conversion. And all this in view of Easter, when we will have the ashes of Lent replaced by the water of Baptism. We do not observe Lent for it’s own sake. It is meant to get us in shape to celebrate the central mystery of our faith: the Death And Resurrection of Jesus Christ.That central mystery of our faith is prepared in the 40days of Lent;it is celebrated in the Three Great Days (3)of Holy Thursday evening, Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday. And then we take 50daysto digest it all: the Easter Season concluding with the feast of Pentecost.
That is what the 40 – 3 – 50on the top of page is all about. It is not some secret code; it is just an indication of where we are with our celebration of the central mystery of our faith.