Crossroads: Ash Wednesday


Psalm 51:1-17

Your Story

Talk about a time when you felt God’s love. Tell about the circumstances and how feeling loved by God made you feel.

My Story and the Bible Story

This year, Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day. It’s a time when we will put ashes on our foreheads in the shape of a cross, but it’s also a time when we will exchange Valentines at school, give cards to our families, and give and receive lots of candy. These two events, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day, seem very different. After all, Ash Wednesday is about remembering that we aren’t perfect and that we sin. And Valentine’s Day is about candy and cards and happy things. And yet, in the center of both of these things is the same purpose: love. You see, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day are all about love. As we celebrate Valentine’s Day and remember the love we have for our family and friends and the love they have for us, we will also be celebrating Ash Wednesday, a time when we remember how much God loves us.

Read Psalm 51:1-17. From the NIV: God, have mercy on me according to your faithful love. Because your love is so tender and kind, wipe out my lawless acts. Wash away all the evil things I’ve done. Make me pure from my sin. I know the lawless acts I’ve committed. I can’t forget my sin. You are the one I’ve really sinned against. I’ve done what is evil in your sight. So you are right when you sentence me. You are fair when you judge me. I know I’ve been a sinner ever since I was born. I’ve been a sinner ever since my mother became pregnant with me. I know that you wanted faithfulness even when I was in my mother’s body. You taught me wisdom in that secret place. Sprinkle me with hyssop, then I will be clean. Wash me, then I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear you say, “Your sins are forgiven.” That will bring me joy and gladness. Let the body you have broken be glad. Take away all my sins. Wipe away all the evil things I’ve done. God, create a pure heart in me. Give me a new spirit that is faithful to you. Don’t send me away from you. Don’t take your Holy Spirit away from me. Give me back the joy that comes from being saved by you. Give me a spirit that obeys you so that I will keep going. Then I will teach your ways to those who commit lawless acts. And sinners will turn back to you. You are the God who saves me. I have committed murder. God, take away my guilt. Then my tongue will sing about how right you are no matter what you do. Lord, open my lips so that I can speak. Then my mouth will praise you. You don’t take delight in sacrifice. If you did, I would bring it. You don’t take pleasure in burnt offerings. The greatest sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. God, you will gladly accept a heart that is broken because of sadness over sin.

God forgives our sin because of God’s great love for us. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves right with God or to clean our sins ourselves. But because of God’s great love, God takes away our sins. God saves us. When we put ashes on our foreheads, we remember that we are not perfect. We have sinned. We have invisible marks of sin on us. But God, who is perfect, forgives all of those sins and wipes away those marks. And how did God do that? By the cross. God showed God’s great love for us by sending Jesus to make us clean. Jesus was the only perfect person. God never did anything wrong. We choose to do the wrong thing a lot. Sometimes we choose to cheat, or we choose to lie. Sometimes we choose to steal or to argue with our brothers and sisters. Sometimes we choose to be mean instead of being kind. There are times when we choose to do the wrong thing. But God gets rid of our sin, the things we do wrong. God takes them and forgives them because God loves us so much. As we celebrate Valentine’s Day and the love we have for others, let us also celebrate Ash Wednesday and remember the love that God has for us. God loves you more than anyone else (including your parents) ever could. And God loves you not matter what. You don’t have to do anything to make God love you. God already does! What better time to remember God’s love for us than on Valentine’s Day?


• Ask your family about times when they knew that God loved them. How did it feel? Did it change how they acted about things?
• Talk about ways we can show our love for God (by talking to God, by reading the Bible, by helping others, etc.).
• Talk about ways to share God’s love with others.


Ask God for helping in knowing that God loves you. Ask for help sharing that love with others.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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