The Vicar in charge of Church of The Pentecost, Awka Anglican Communion Diocese of Awka, said that the administration of Ash on forehead of faithful does not mean they are true Christians.
Venerable Ekene Nwafor gave this warning on Wednesday during a Homily to mark Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Christians’ lenten season for year 2023.
Nwafor, who picked his bible passage from Joel 2 vs 12, which says “Therefore also now, said the Lord, turn ye even unto me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and with mourning.”
He said that God commanded the faithful to rend their heart in prayers, mourning and fasting in order to seek His face in sincerity and with clear hearts.
Nwafor said that what makes or destroys a man comes from his heart.
“Transformation of a man starts from the heart which is the making of the man,” he said.
The Vicar reminded Christians that the Lenten period is a time of humility, re-validating of one’s life and to be in shape as God demands.
He said that the administration of the Ash on members helps them to rebuild their faith and turn to God earnestly in all they do.
“You do not go to God with filthy garments, you are to rend your hearts in penitence and repent of all your secrets sins.
“Lenten season affords us Christians the golden opportunity to amend our wicked and sinful ways,” he said, asking “Do you worship God in honesty, and sincerity, in fear and holiness and righteousness. In secret of your secrets are you a child of God?.
“When things go wrong in the family, mothers gather to pray, fathers gather to pray when the Nation is confused, youth listen to Elders to take counsel.
“In our offices and business places, do we behave like Christ.
“As Christians do we still watch pornographic movies, engage in homosexual, lesbianism, corrupt practices amongst other ills. This is the time to rend your hearts and repent,” he said.
Mrs Ndidi Okeke-Efi, a parishioner who participated in the Ash administration, said this is a period for sober reflection.
Okeke-Efi enjoined Christians to re-assess themselves and be better Christians.
Mr Chiadi Josiah, a parishioner, described the annual ritual of the Christians as a tool to keep Christians in check and encourage them to follow God’s command as it where.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ash Wednesday service is an annual religious acts of Christians across the globe to commence the 40-day fasting of prayer of penance as Jesus Christ did while on earth as recorded in their Holy book, called Bible.
NAN reports that a service of preparation for the Ash Wednesday service, called Shrove on Tuesday comes before the Ash Wednesday service.
“The burning of the palm leave used the previous year is where the Ash comes from while the palm front represents a symbol of triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. (NAN)