Yanjing Theological Seminary Holds Ash Wednesday Service
By Zhang Mengyue, March 07, 2019 09:03 AM
Yanjing Theological Seminary held a service on March 6, 2019, Ash Wednesday that opens the six-week long season of Lent before Easter Sunday.
Conducted in the Beijing-based seminary's chapel, the service included recitation of scriptures, prayers of confession, and marking the sign of ashes.
When the four pastors marked the cross of ashes on the foreheads of the worshipers as a symbol of repentance, they said, "You are dust, and to dust you shall return. Stay away from sin and sacrifice yourself to Christ."
In the sermon entitled "The Temptation of Jesus", one of the pastors explained that the ashes used in the service were collected the previous day by burning palm leaves that had been blessed during the previous year's Palm Sunday service.
Ash Wednesday is based on the Gospels' account in Matthew, Luke and Mark which tells how Christ spent 40 days of fasting in the desert and how he endured the temptations from Satan.
The traditional purpose of Lent, which ends on Holy Thursday, is to prepare the believer through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial. Its meaning is heightened during Holy Week, which is held every year to mark the death and resurrection of Jesus, recalling the events in the Bible of Jesus' crucifixion on Good Friday and culminating resurrection on Easter Sunday.
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