It’s Ash Wednesday, and many Roman Catholics will be walking around with an ashen cross on their foreheads.
But are they Catholics?
Protestants have increasingly observed Ash Wednesday, in one way or another, in recent years.
I noticed that the Hudson River Presbytery of Presbyterian Church USA has an Ash Wednesday retreat today.
Memorial United Methodist Church in White Plains is hosting a joint Ash Wednesday service this evening with at least four other Methodist congregations.
Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon is starting today a weekly midday prayer service, featuring visiting preachers, that will run through Pentecost.
There’s plenty more.
And it’s only the beginning of the holy season. As Bishop Jeremiah J. Park, leader of the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church, wrote in his Lenten letter:
Lent is a sacred time when we are ever more intentional in focusing our journey on Jesus. We do well to heed this advice from the Book of Hebrews: Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance that race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1).