Baptist churches are observing Lent and even holding Ash Wednesday services– complete with putting ashes and sign of the cross on the forehead of the faithful, according to news reports.
RW recently reported the rise of Catholic ideas in the US, but it seems that the observation can also apply to Catholic rituals. This trend should be put in a wider perspective, writes Mary Challender in the Des Moines Register (March 1): some Protestants are taking a fresh look at old rituals and have come to acknowledge the value of the liturgical cycle. And while Anglicans, Lutherans and Methodists already observed Lent, its prominence is said to be growing especially in Lutheran churches.
There are variations in the extent of adopting these rituals. For instance, Immanuel Baptist Church, Belle Meade, Tennessee, held its first Ash Wednesday service this year, but without actually using ashes and placing them on foreheads. Participants read Biblical passages related to sin and forgiveness, explains Jeannine F. Hunter in The Tennessean (March 1).
Some observers feel the trend is related to a need for rituals and meaningful signs about the Christian life. Various people interviewed by newspapers intend to give up some habit or type of food during Lent.
— By Jean-Francois Mayer, RW Contributing Editor and founder of Religioscope