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So the World Will Know Christ’s Love
Join us for Ash Wednesday Service at Bethel UMC Columbia.

Ash Wednesday Worship 2024

Dear friends,


The Season of Lent is nearly upon us, inviting us to spiritual self-examination. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday with a special time of worship inviting us to a season of repentance.



Repentance is not simply apologizing to God for our sins. Repentance is spiritually turning toward God and away from the things that distract us from God. Yes, it involves sorrow for our sins, but it also involves making changes in our lives to keep us from sin. Repentance is one of the main themes of the Ash Wednesday service, which I always find personally meaningful.


From time to time, someone asks me, “Why ashes?” Throughout the Old Testament, ashes are mentioned in connection to dust and sackcloth as signs of mourning and grief. Ashes were applied to a person’s head and body during times of crisis as a sign of penitence, often accompanied by fasting. Ashes and dust are also used in conjunction to refer to human mortality. On Ash Wednesday, we receive ashes as a sign of grief for our sins, to acknowledge our own mortality, and to acknowledge that God alone can save us. We continue this centuries-old Christian practice as an act of worship as we humble ourselves in God’s presence.


We will hold this year’s Ash Wednesday worship in the Sanctuary at noon, and will offer the traditional imposition of ashes. I encourage you to attend this impactful service as you begin the Season of Lent.


Yours in Christ,
Rev. Julie Belman