“Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.” 
(Invitation to Lent on Ash Wednesday, Book of Common Prayer, p. 264-265)

“I don’t want you to put dirt on my head.”

My son told me this the other day as we talk about why it was going to be a crazy week in our family. I tried to tell him that it is only a little bit, but he is not convinced. I’m hoping our conversation in the car today goes better.

It is hard for us to understand why we mark the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday. Why should someone rub dirt on our head, so we can begin to get ready for Easter? I understand his concern.

The real issue is about saying I’m sorry. We tell our children that they must say their sorry when they hurt someone’s feelings or if they hurt them physically but how often do we or our children look beyond simply saying I’m sorry. How are we teaching them that apologizing is only the beginning? It is a necessary beginning if you want to remain friends with someone.

For Christians, Ash Wednesday is only the beginning of a time when we renew our relationships. We start by saying I’m sorry to God. We start by renewing our relationship with God so that we can say I’m sorry to those we have hurt and really mean it.

Things to ask your kids:
  • Why do you think saying I’m sorry is important?
  • Have you hurt anyone recently (either feelings or physically)? Does it matter if their feelings were hurt on purpose or on accident?
  • Have you said I’m sorry? How are you trying to make sure you don’t hurt them again?
  • Have you been hurt recently by anyone in our family? How can we work together to make it better?
  • Do you think we ever hurt God’s feelings? How can we make it better?


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