Ashes to Go for Lent

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As another snowfall dusted the city of Ludington, Mich., Cindy de Jong, the new pastor of Lakeside (Christian Reformed) Church, offered ashes and an invitation this past Ash Wednesday.

Among the Scriptures spoken, de Jong offered, “From dust you were made, to dust you shall return.”

In freezing conditions, de Jong and four other pastors representing seven Ludington congregations joined efforts to reach into their community with Ash Wednesday blessings. A few days before Ash Wednesday, a news article in a local paper announced their presence and purpose in the plaza.

“An older man seemed a little surprised to see us there but grateful for the opportunity to receive the ashes,” de Jong reflected. “As I imposed ashes on his forehead with the words ‘Turn from sin and turn to Jesus; may you have a blessed Lent,’ he spoke God’s blessing on me too.”  

De Jong was ordained at Lakeside church just a few months ago. Lakeside elder Lisa Bradley said, “The experience of receiving ashes street side, in the cold and blowing snow, was new for me. I think what was especially meaningful for me was being able to receive them from my pastor. Our church has been without a permanent pastor for a long time, and seeing her standing on the street, waiting to greet me, was lovely.”

The pastors planned this Lenten outreach at one of their monthly lunches. The idea for the Ash Wednesday outreach sprang from one of the pastors’ experience in New York. Some members of this ecumenical group are also planning a joint Good Friday service.

About the Author

Shashi DeHaan is the Banner's regional news correspondent for classes Arizona and Red Mesa.


See comments (1)


Should Chriatians observe Lent? No. "Neither a borrower or a Lenter be." -David Leach

The origin of Lent is pagan, rooted in Babylon, and something the Roman Catholic Church adopted to merit or earn good works, or penance. Our activities as a church are to be rooted in God's Word. Not the traditions of man. Pious, is not going to earn us or the church any brownie points, or represent any form of spirituality with God. Putting ashes on someones forehead, or giving up something, as if we are making some sacrifice that is pleasing to God, is an insult to His finished work on the cross.

Isaiah 64:6 tells us, ' All of us have become like one unclean, and all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." 

Our message should be. We broke God's Law (The 10 Commandments). Jeus paid our fine, IN FULL, with His lifes blood. We come to him in repentance, humlity, and faith.

"Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling."