Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday: "Go and Sin Not"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

Perhaps it’s because I’m an engineer at heart, but I like to plan things out and write them down. That’s the way I write essays - a detailed structure that I can then just fill in the bits in between. It’s also the way I write sermons. I can cope with the unexpected but after an argument I find myself constantly dwelling on what I wish I’d said.

Ash Wednesday: "Reshaping Relationship"

The Revd Margaret Legg

70 years ago Coventry Cathedral was destroyed by the Luftwaffe. Since the 14th century it had stood, a solid and majestic witness to God. Overnight its interior was reduced to rubble – to dust and ashes.

Today, Ash Wednesday is a day of penitence to clean the soul, to wear sackcloth and to cover one’s head with ashes. All ancient Biblical traditions. During the service you will be invited to have a cross of ashes marked on your forehead, as a sign of penitence and mortality.  The signing is accompanied by the words remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.

Ash Wednesday: "Avoiding Exhibitionism"

The Revd Margaret Legg

Today is the beginning of Lent. It's a day of penitence to clean the soul, to wear sackcloth and to cover one’s head with ashes – all ancient Biblical traditions.

In our service you will be invited to receive on the forehead the mark of a cross of ashes, as a sign of penitence and mortality. The use of ashes, made by burning palm crosses from the previous Palm Sunday, is very symbolic. The signing of the cross is accompanied by the words: remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return. This is based on God's sentence on Adam in Genesis 3:19 as he expels Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

Ash Wednesday: "There were left the two: misery and mercy"

John 8:1-11

This is the Gospel of Christ, but it is not the Gospel of John. It is rare that Biblical scholarship is unanimous but you won’t find many commentators trying to defend it on these grounds, no matter which century you turn to. The language is not Johanine, we hear of the Mount of Olives, and Jesus disputes with ‘the scribes and the pharisees’, unmentioned in John but common in the other Gospels; it entirely interrupts the flow of the text, which seamlessly flows around it, and it is missing from almost all the earliest manuscripts.