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Caz Presbyterian Church and Morrisville Community Church to hold Ash Wednesday service

— The First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia in conjunction with the Morrisville Community Church will hold a Service of Divine Worship at 7:30 p.m. on Ash Wednesday, March 5, at the Morrisville Community Church, located on 3824 Swamp Road, Morrisville. The service will include readings from the Old and New Testament, the Imposition of Ashes, a Responsive Litany of Penitence and a Lord’s Prayer Litany. The Meditation “The Father Who Sees in Secret” will be given by Rev. Steve Thomas, pastor of the Cazenovia Presbyterian Church.

Combined choirs from Cazenovia and Morrisville will sing the anthem “God So Loved the World,” based on the famous scripture of John 3:16 and arranged by John Stainer. Keith Joseph, director of music for the Morrisville church, will lead the choirs. A fully staffed nursery will be available for infants, toddlers and pre-school children.

In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count). Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline.

The name “Ash Wednesday” is derived from the custom of marking foreheads of the faithful with blessed ashes as a sign of penitence and humility. The Lent season has been a time for self-examination and penitence prior to Easter for many centuries. The Lent season comes from the Saxon lengten-tide, referring to the days and the coming of spring in the northern hemisphere.

This 40-day period of abstinence recalls the fasts of Moses, Elijah and Jesus, all of which lasted for 40 days according to the Christian scripture.

Ashes were used in ancient times, according to the Bible, to express mourning. Dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent's way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults. The ashes that are used on Ash Wednesday usually come from the remains of burned palms that were blessed on the previous year’s Palm Sunday. They symbolize death, mortality and sorrow for sin. The marking of ashes on foreheads in form of a cross also symbolizes that sins are forgiven through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

For more information contact the Cazenovia Presbyterian Church at 655-3191 or cazpres.org.

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