Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the 40 days that precede Easter. In Scripture, the number 40 reminds us of the rainy days and nights that Noah spent on the ark, of the years that Israel spent in the wilderness after the Exodus, and of the time Jesus spent in the wilderness facing temptation after His baptism. For us, Lent is an invitation to spend 40 days of renewal, 40 days to prepare ourselves to hear and absorb the amazing Good News of Easter. It is a season during which many Christians devote themselves more deeply to study, prayer, service, and even fasting or sacrifice. May this season reminds us that we are sinners who depend on God’s love and grace to overcome sin and death and that the resurrection of Jesus means that our mortality will give way to resurrection and new life.