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1245 Heights Boulevard, 77008 | 713-862-8883

Grace United Methodist Church

A Message from Mary: Yesterday's Palms are Today's Ashes

There is a tradition of saving the palms from Palm Sunday and burning them the next year for Ash Wednesday. The symbolism is powerful. Everyone is so excited to welcome Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, so excited that they cut down branches from trees and lay out clothes on the road as Jesus travels over it. By the end of the week, the crowd has turned on Jesus and cries for his crucifixion. As he dies, the crowd is very small.
As a symbolic act of contrition, knowing that Jesus died for the sins of those who called for his death as much as he died for our own sins, the palms that were waved in triumph are burned to ash. The ash reminds us of our mortality, how we too will return to dust, and our own contrition for sins that we have committed. People once mourned or asked for forgiveness by covering themselves in sackcloth and ashes.
With children, instead of ashes, I usually give them a cross sticker and encourage them to wear it that day. I explain that the cross is a sign of God’s love for us, and it is a reminder to us to tell God we are sorry when we hurt God, which we do when we hurt others or ourselves.
I hope you will join us for the service that begins Lent, but if you are unable to make it, think about ways to remember Jesus’ sacrifice during the 40 days, plus Sundays, of Lent.

Grace United Methodist Church
1245 Heights Blvd
Houston, TX 77008
Office Hours
Monday - Friday 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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