On February 22, 2023, the first day of Lent (also known as the Ash Wednesday), all faculty members and students of Jiangxi Bible School gathered in the school chapel attending the first service of the Lent 2023.
At 8 o’clock in the morning, teachers and students who participated in the liturgy began the Ash Wednesday liturgical service with the Introit. The worship service consisted of the Liturgical Interpretation, the Prayer, the Ministry of the Word, the Penitence, the Imposition of the Ashes, the Peace and the Rite of Commissioning.
Rev. Hong Shuyong used the Ash Wednesday verses to share a message entitled “Put off the Old Self and Turn to Christ”. After the prayer of repentance, the congregation came forward in turn to receive the ashes left from the burning of palm branches on the last Palm Sunday. Rev. Hong Shuyong drew the sign of the cross on their foreheads with the ashes, according to the ancient rite of the church. He exhorted all to “return ashes to ashes and dust to dust, turn from sin and trust in Christ”. The liturgy ended with the blessing and commissioning.
On the same evening, Shaanxi Bible School conducted the Ash Wednesday worship service in its chapel, attended by all faculty and students.
The Ash Wednesday worship service was hosted by Zheng Sen, chairperson of the Student Union. The choir sang I Gave My Life for Thee. Rev. Chen Dingliang, vice president of Shaanxi Bible School, preached a sermon entitled Back to Bethlehem. Then student Wang Ni lighted the candle that symbolized the brightness of His coming. Rev. Wang Hong, president of the school, led the Holy Communion and the Imposition of the Ashes during the Ash Wednesday service. All faculty and students took turns to receive the Communion and ashes with a contrite heart.
The Ash Wednesday service enables students to learn and partake in the vital liturgies for traditional Christian festivals and dates, to remind all members of the school during Lent and in their daily devotionals meditating on the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus with repentance, meditation, fasting and prayer, and to welcome His resurrection.
Translated and edited by Bei Feng, Tian Tian.