March 4, 2022 | Jessica Smith
“I LOVE Ash Wednesday!” one third grade student exclaimed as he reflected on his experience at the Ash Wednesday prayer walk. On March 2, students in grades K-8 came to the Community Room with their class and found the room transformed with five different stations: soil, water, oil, light, and ash.
At each station, students read a passage of scripture, a reflection, wondering questions and a prayer. They heard water as they read about the baptism of Jesus, they smelled anointing oil as they reflected on Jesus having his feet washed with oil, they saw culturally diverse icons illuminated by candles as they heard about Jesus being the Light of the World and they put their fingers in ashes from last year’s Palm Celebration to create an ash cross on their Lent Reflection Journal. As one third grade student remarked, “It was like a God museum!”
See the Ash Wednesday stations here. This year’s Ash Wednesday prayer walk was funded by the Thomas S. Postema Chair for Worship.
Music teacher Aiko Mauldin helped to host the prayer walk. “It was beautiful to see how each teacher lead their class through the prayer walk. Teachers were able to tailor the experience to meet the developmental needs of the children. Young students sat at each station and then took turns looking, touching, and smelling. Older students took turns reading and leading.”
What is the significance of Ash Wednesday? This observance marks the beginning of Lent.
Lent is a season of forty days (signifying the forty days that Jesus was in the wilderness) beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending with Easter. The word “Lent” comes from an Old English word that means “springtime.” This is a season that invites us to a holy dark and quiet time where we can weed away those things that separate us from God. It is a time when we can ask God to plant good seeds in the soil of our soul. Lent is a springtime for our spiritual lives. As we are nourished through the story of Jesus’ life, we can lean into God’s nurture and care.