For many Lincoln County residents, Ash Wednesday was a day of public repentance.
Attending church services, they were reminded â€œYou are dust and to dust you shall return.â€
Participants took time to think about their relationship to God, divine forgiveness and eternal life.
â€œWe do not have very much control,â€ said the Rev. Jane Kempster with St. Lukeâ€™s Episcopal Church. â€œWe are in the hands of God.â€
The imposition of ashes started off the season of Lent, a time of soul searching and repentance, which leads up to Easter.
â€œIt just reminds me all the Lord has done for me,â€ said Verna Hovis, who attended a service at First Methodist Church.
Historically during Lent, Christians fasted as a reconciliation with God. These days, it is more common for participants to sacrifice things like chocolate, coffee or alcohol.
â€œWe fast to remind ourselves that God provides for all of us,â€ Kempster said.
Some participants left the service not sure what their 40-day sacrifice would be.
â€œI will try to come up with something that I need to change, and Iâ€™ll do that,â€ said Gene Derryberry, who attended a service at First Methodist Church. â€œItâ€™s like a New Yearâ€™s resolution, but with a little more thought to it.â€
In a traditional service, Kempster reminded her congregation to not be a â€œpious hypocrite â€¦ fasting for all the wrong reasons.â€ Lent should be a time focused on God, not on looking impressively devout.
For David Andrews, the service is a time to â€œcome to grips with my own humanity.â€
The ashes used in the service, which can be seen on participantsâ€™ foreheads throughout the day, are a sign of morality and penitence.
â€œIâ€™m here for a short time, but God can take me and use me forever,â€ Andrews said.
by Sarah Grano