ASH WEDNESDAY IS ON VALENTINE’S DAY;

EASTER SUNDAY IS ON APRIL FOOL’S DAY!

Church and state are about to collide on the calendar.

Ash Wednesday, when Christians are called to begin a season of confession and repentance, falls on lovey, dovey Valentine’s Day.

And Easter, the most important Christian observance, lands on April Fools’ Day, when we need to be careful what to believe.

The two mashups have not happened together since 1945.  Easter was most recently on April 1, or April Fools’ Day, in 1956, but Ash Wednesday did not fall on Valentine’s Day then because it was a leap year.

What any of this means for you depends on how closely you follow religious rules.  Let’s start with Ash Wednesday, when Christians are often challenged to abstain from meat, like the old every-Friday rule, and to fast, meaning refrain from eating big meals.

So if you take your sweetie out for a meaty feast, you’re probably doing it wrong. After all, there’s the separation of church and steak (I can’t believe that I actually wrote that).

There’s a unique contrast between these two holidays. Valentine’s Day relates to excess—cheesy love songs, over-the-top romance, and elaborate gifts.  On the other hand, Ash Wednesday focuses on moderation.  It’s officially the start of Lent, when most people give up a vice for 40 days.

What is the church to do when one of our traditional Christian holidays falls on the same day as a flower-filled, Hallmark-driven, love-fest?  There is one point of connection between these two days—love.  Valentine’s Day revolves around romantic love. And Ash Wednesday is a solemn reminder of Christ’s sacrificial love for us.

What is the church to do when one of our traditional Christian holidays falls on the same day as a flower-filled, Hallmark-driven, love-fest?  I would like to invite you to connect the two.  

We invite you to make Ash Wednesday a part of your evening with your special someone.  We will begin the Ash Wednesday service early—at 6:30 P.M.  The service will conclude at 7:15 P.M.  Make your dinner reservations NOW for 7:30 P.M.  If that doesn’t work for you, we recommend that you celebrate Valentine’s Day before or after the actual day.

There is a lot of love to be celebrated, and I hope you will celebrate both on February 14th: your love for Jesus and your love for spouse/special someone. –Pastor Jeff