Why ashes? The imposition of ashes can be a powerful, concrete reminder of both Law and Gospel in which worshipers of any age can take part. The words “you are dust, and to dust you shall return” that are spoken as ashes are received on the forehead remind us that as a result of sin and the fall, death is a reality. Ashes also remind us of the practice in Scripture of wearing sackcloth and ashes as a sign of sorrow and repentance of sin. Since the ashes are marked in the shape of the cross, pointing us to the promise of the forgiveness of sin through Jesus’ crucifixion for us. After leaving worship, we will eventually was off the ashen cross. As we splash water on our foreheads, we remember our baptism where we were cleansed of sin through water and the Word. Whether literally marked with ashes or not, we enter the penitential season of Lent pray that God would have mercy on us, forgive us our sin and bring us everlasting life.