Ash Wednesday calls us to a forty-day journey of repentance and renewal. The forty days of Lent are set aside as a time to take a look at our walk with God. Our attention is especially directed to the holy sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. From ancient times the season of Lent has been kept as a time of special devotion, self-denial, instruction, and humble repentance born of a faithful heart that dwells confidently on His Word and draws life and hope from it. In our service today as a reminder of our mortality and our sin, ashes are imposed on the foreheads of believers. Note the sweet Gospel phrases that dominate: Return to the Lord, for he is gracious. Having obtained his pardon, we seek a renewal of our faith and life that we might live as baptized children of God.