Tuesday , February 13, 2018 - 5:15 AM
In this photo from Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017, Pastor Bruce Kolasch, of Elim Lutheran Church in Ogden, scribes an ashen cross on the forehead of Mickie Porm.
The 40-day period when liturgical Christians fast from worldly desires and renew devotions to their faith starts Wednesday with a message of everlasting and true love at Elim Lutheran Church.
“There is no better love than God’s love and Jesus’ love,” said the Rev. Bruce Kolasch. “It heals. It brings peace, all kinds of things helping us to be better people.”
Elim Lutheran Church is only one of many congregations locally holding Ash Wednesday services, which include the placement of ashes on the foreheads of participants.
Those who choose to forgo some of their Valentine’s Day celebrations to dedicate themselves more fully to God won’t be sorry for doing so, Kolasch said.
“Sometimes we take repentance really lightly,” Kolasch said. “Ash Wednesday reminds us of the seriousness of sin, our mortality and what God and Jesus have done for us.”
The significance of the ashes used in Christian Ash Wednesday services dates back to the Old Testament times, Kolasch said. “People of Israel would take dust and ashes, and they threw them on their hair. They would tear their clothes as a way of saying ‘God, I am sorry for my sins.’”
Rev. Steve Aeschbacher of First Presbyterian Church of Ogden said Valentine’s Day gives Ash Wednesday an added message of love.
“Valentine’s Day is the celebration of love and Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a time of reflection of the greatest demonstration of love the world has ever seen,” Aeschbacher said, referring to teachings of Christ dying on the cross to pay for the sins of mankind.
“So much of life encourages us to turn in and be selfish,” Aeschbacher said. “Love is facing out. That is the great thing about Valentine’s Day and the example of Jesus.”
The calendar message of Valentine’s Day and April Fool’s Day on noteworthy Christian observances couldn’t be more appropriate and timely, said Rev. Kim James, pastor at First United Methodist Church.
“Right now in our society, there’s all these ‘me too’ outings where people are being accused,” James said. “I think there is some repentance that needs to take place. We need to be loving in an appropriate way and treat other people like they are human beings. Of course, Christians should be the first to do that.”
As women are speaking out and being heard, sometimes for the first time, James said she sees a resurrection taking place in the world.
“People who believed them might have thought they were foolish that they were speaking out about something that would have made no difference,” James said of past attitudes about sexual harassment.
Those looking for a place to worship at on Ash Wednesday may want to check out these local churches offering services at the following times Wednesday:
• Community United Methodist Church, 163 W. 4800 South, Washington Terrace, 801-479-7430 — 7 p.m.
• Elim Lutheran Church, 575 23rd St., Ogden, 801-394-5543 — 6 p.m.
• The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 2374 Grant Ave., Ogden, 801-392-8168 — Noon and 7 p.m.
• Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, 1131 South Main St., Centerville, 801-295-1360 — Noon. 4 and 7 p.m., general public; 4 p.m. children and families.
• First Presbyterian Church, 880 28th St., Ogden, 801-393-8477 — 7 p.m.
• First United Methodist Church, 1339 W. 400 North, Marriott-Slaterville, 801-393-5662 — 7 p.m.
• Holy Family Catholic Church, 1100 E. 5550 South, South Ogden, 801-479-1112 — 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. masses
• Light of the Valley Lutheran Church, 1074 N. Fairfield Rd., Layton, 801-444-1591 — 7 p.m. Imposition of ashes 15 minutes before and after services.
• Mountain Road Church, 796 South Mountain Rd., Fruit Heights, 801-546-0212 — 7 p.m.
• Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 5560 S. 2300 West, Roy, 801-825-6552 — Noon and 7 p.m.
• Saint James the Just Catholic Church, 495 N Harrison Blvd, Ogden, 801-782-5393 — 7 a.m., noon, 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
• St. Joseph Catholic Church, 514 24th St., Ogden, 801-399-5627 — 6:30 a.m., 12:10 p.m., 5:15 p.m. and 7 p.m.
• St. Michael's Episcopal Church, 589 South 200 East, Brigham City, 801-391-2185 — Noon
• St. Paul Lutheran Church, 3329 Harrison Blvd, Ogden, 801-392-2912 — 7 p.m.
• St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 1579 S State St, Clearfield, 801-825-0177 — 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.
• Trinity Presbyterian Church, 140 N. Tyler Ave., Ogden, 801-393-2661 — 7 p.m.