I just came home from our church’s Ash Wednesday service, with some charcoal on my forehead, reminding me and others around me of our own mortality.
I know that many evangelical Christians do not celebrate Ash Wednesday, or the season of Lent, for that matter, because it is not directly taught within the Bible. I can understand that, but the unfortunate rumors that the season of Lent has pagan roots is without foundation. Instead, the practice of Lent is thoroughly grounded in a tradition begun in the early church, for which traditionally-minded liturgical churches continue to celebrate, along with a growing number of evangelical churches. So while the specific practice of Lent is not mentioned in the Bible, the concepts of repentance and self-examination as we prepare our hearts to meet the crucified and risen Christ celebrated on Easter Sunday are most definitely grounded in Scripture.
For more on the history of Ash Wednesday and Lent, see this Veracity posting from last year. Columbia Publishing House, an arm of the Missouri-Synod Lutheran Church, produced the following video, a short under-3-minute introduction to what Lent is all about: