The Imposition of Ashes and Prayer
The Symbolism of Ashes
The ashes symbolize the frailty, the uncertainty, the instability of material things.
As the palms, which once were so fresh and green, are now dried and withered,
so all things run their course and come to an end.
Our bodies change, grow old and die.
Our achievements terminate. Kings and rulers come and go.
Governments rise and fall.
As the freshness departs from the palm branch,
so the freshness departs from life and its object.
There is nothing in the world of created things that is stable and lasting.
The uncertainty of materials things
is stressed in the prayers used to bless the ashes,
as the Pastor places them on our foreheads,
he impresses this fact upon our minds with the words of administration:
"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return"
These words are urged to cast away our trust in materiel things,
and to place our faith
in One alone who is unchanged, stable, eternal - Almighty God.