Perhaps you’ve seen coworkers coming back from a weekday worship service with gray smudges on their foreheads. Some Christian churches not only use the term "Ash Wednesday" to mark the beginning of Lent, but they literally apply ash paste to the worshipers as a reminder of our sin, our mortality, and the terrible price that had to be paid to remove both.
Whether or not you wear ashes on your forehead, it is appropriate at this time to come before your Lord in humility, on your knees, knowing and admitting how much you need a Savior. “I am nothing but dust and ashes,” said Abraham once (Genesis 18:27), and we are too.
Created by God, living in God’s world, living under God’s law, and accountable to God’s judgment, we are in a bad place. Our inherited sinful DNA makes us guilty in God’s eyes even before we are born, and we eagerly add to the pile of evil every day we live. The guilt we carry brings God’s verdict--“To dust you shall return.” And worse--“To hell you shall go.”
But the Lenten season brings us the incredible stories of the suffering, condemnation, and death of Jesus Christ in our place. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He is the Lamb of God who takes away your sin, guilt, and condemnation. And ashes.