How, why Ash Wednesday was observed in Augusta

Ash Wednesday is observed by Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, and more.
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 2:54 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - If you see someone out in the Augusta community Wednesday with a symbol of a cross on their forehead, it’s likely they visited a tent at the Augusta Commons or their church.

It was Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is observed by Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, and more.

It’s observed with ashes being placed on one’s forehead as a reminder of mortality — symbolizing one is made of dust and dust you shall return when you pass.

It marks the start of Lent, which is honored for 40 days up until Easter Sunday.

Worshippers are supposed to fast or give up something as a sign of sacrifice and self-discipline.

The Rev. Bernard Mason with Woodlawn United Methodist Church in Augusta says he wanted to create a way for both believers and nonbelievers to come get their ashes.

That’s why he was part of the Ash Wednesday observance offered downtown at the Augusta Common.

“COVID really made a difference for all of our churches,” he said. “I think we’ve come to a greater understanding that church is not contained in a building to four walls. We want very much to be present in the city, in the community and all of that is a part of our worship life, our prayers, our ministry, Holy Communion, baptism, and this meaningful day today with our ashes. They should be present in our city and in our town.”

One man says Ash Wednesday symbolizes more than a reminder of his faith.

“Sacrifice,” said Jarvis McNair, community member.

To McNair, the cross goes beyond a smudge.

“Something that’s dear to you, that you willing to sacrifice, like Jesus, did for us. It could be something small, to some major finances, or it could be just something that we feel like we need to give up,” he said.

Serving as a reminder.

“I think a lot of times we as Christians, put more on ourselves than we should. We try to look way past really today. Because at the end of the day, we don’t know if we’re promised tomorrow,” said McNair.

He says by giving up or adding something new to your routine serves as a reset for a better you.

“It just transforms our life to that point that it’s gonna make a better me a bigger, better you, and then in return is gonna make a better place. It’s gonna make a better world,” said McNair.

But it also opens the door for questions about what is on his head.

“I’m going to another place to eat lunch, and I’m hoping they ask me what that is,” he said.

Allowing him to share about the Savior who changed his life.

“My granddad always told me you can’t beat somebody over the head with your religious belief. You just can show them and live by them and then hopefully, they’ll see some of the things that you do. It will that will transform their life,” he said.