Christians mark Ash Wednesday
Ashes, in the Bible, are a symbol of purification, penitence and mortality. On Wednesday, Christians in Rowan County joined others across the world to observe the beginning of the Lenten season, in which they are urged to reflect on those qualities.
In many churches, Ash Wednesday services include the imposition of ashes, an ancient practice in which pastors apply ash in the shape of a cross to the foreheads of congregants and recall God’s words to Adam in Genesis with a phrase such as, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
In the church, Lent is a 40-day period of introspection, self examination, repentance and sacrifice. It includes Holy Week and Good Friday, which mark the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus, and culminates in the celebration of Easter, when Christians believe he was resurrected.