Ashes-to-Go in observance of Lenten season
There were several Ash Wednesday masses inside today. Outside three pastors from three different churches came together in Long Beach to provide ashes for those on the move this morning.
The end of Mardi Gras means it is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent. To kick-off the 40-day Lenten period, cars lined up at the Jim Simpson Pier in Long Beach to receive a prayer and ashes on their foreheads. Pastor Dave Parr said, “Folks can come by and receive ashes on their way to work or wherever they are going. So, we offer that as part of our ministry to God’s people in the community or wherever they are from.”
The period leading up to Easter is a time to intentionally focus on repentance and renewal. The ashes are a sign of burning away the impurities of sin. Reverend Beth Rolfs said, “The ashes do remind us of our own mortality, of our own penance, and we pray that in receiving them, we do remember that it is a gracious gift from our God.”
During this time, people tend to give up certain things as a sacrifice and to test their self-discipline. “I encourage my congregation to not only give up something, but try to do something, an act of service, or do something that makes them a better person also.”
While Reverend Rolfs says she plans on giving up something. “The list is so long. I do some sort of food, chocolate because that’s what I have always done as a child.”
Pastor Carr said, “I’m an advocate of taking on extra things, such as extra prayer, or maybe visit the sick more often or whatever we can do to reach out to God’s people.”