Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and introspection in Christendom. Ashes are ceremonially placed on the foreheads of Christians usually in the shape of a cross. As this action is being carried out the priest states the words from the Book of Genesis 3:19 Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
The ash material is made from palm branches blessed on the previous year’s Palm Sunday.
Palm trees have several characteristics that mirror the life of a Christian:
|In a storm they will bend instead of snapping and break.|
|The palm tree not only survives but flourishes in the desert.
The roots of the palm tree go deep below the burning sands and find moisture down deep below the surface. To go deep, we must live the Christ life – Galatians 2:20.
|In a dessert, a group of palm trees form an oasis. A place of shelter for a weary traveler.
|The older the palm tree, the sweeter the fruit – Psalm 92:14
People do not use the palm tree for firewood because it refuses to burn like ordinary wood. In this sense, it serves as reminder that the true child of God will never, not even for a moment, suffer the fires of hell.