Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. It is one of the services of the church year children are least likely to attend. That is unfortunate because there are three big reasons for them to be there.
U When children see all the adults they love and respect wearing ashes and they themselves are marked with ashes, they know they belong. They are one of God’s people. Other days they may know that with their minds, but on Ash Wednesday they know it in a powerful way with their eyes.
U Because we are all marked not with golden markers but with messy black ashes, children learn that all of us mess up and are forgiven. The most loved and respected adult they know does and they do. In a world where they are constantly told they can do better and can make good choices and should be special, this is important life-shaping information.
U After experiencing an Ash Wednesday service, especially one in which the presence of children is planned for, children and their families are more likely to come back for holy week services to worship around the most important stories of our faith.
Go to Bread Not Stones - Remember You Are Dust to read one pastor’s experience with children on Ash Wednesday. If you are a worship planner, don’t miss the Comment describing how she invites children to the service on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. (This IS the Sunday before Ash Wednesday!)