Marking the start of Lent

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 | 6:55 p.m. CST; updated 8:08 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 9, 2008
Pastor Brian Thieme leads a sermon, titled "From Galilee to Judea," during an Ash Wednesday service at Trinity Lutheran Church. Thieme's sermon emphasized the recognition of Jesus not only as a guide and teacher in his own time but as a savior of humanity.

COLUMBIA — For many Christians around the world, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and penance in preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter.

In some Christian denominations, church members are encouraged to give up something dear to them as a sign of repentance and sacrifice to commemorate the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert.


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The marking of ashes on worshippers’ foreheads grew out of a public sign of penance for early Christians in first century Rome. Today, it serves as a public reminder of Christ’s sacrifice and the need to put things in their life in perspective.

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