Christians around the world are celebrating Ash Wednesday, a day that ushers in the 40-day season of Lent, and many social media users have taken to the Internet to share their insights and hopes for the upcoming season.
Christians around the world kick off the 40-day period of observance and fasting known as Lent by donning a cross on their foreheads with ash. The ash is generally prepared from burning palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday, and for believers wearing the cross on their foreheads in ash symbolizes both mourning and repentance.
According to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert before beginning his public ministry, and Christians celebrate and commemorate this period by undergoing Lent.
During the period of Lent, Christians prepare for Easter, the holiest day in the Christian calendar, through penitence and prayer. The period of Lent is a sacred time for many Christians and people have taken to their Twitter and Facebook accounts to share their perspectives.
"Ash Wed. I am saved by Grace! Thank you Jesus for dying for me," Twitter user Doris Row tweeted.
"Ash Wednesday. I pray God gives me a deeper understanding of my great sin & need of Jesus' even greater sacrifice & love in these 40 days," Chelsea Whatley of Florida wrote on Twitter.
"Let's not forget the real purpose of Ash Wednesday tweeps. Let's use the opportunity to remember the sacrifices made for us all," Twitter user @JTCM1 tweeted to his followers.
With social media having such a vast reach, churches have also taken to the Internet to remind worshipers of services and to share their well wishes with observers.
"May your Ash Wednesday be a time of reflection and promise," Foreside Community Church wrote on its Facebook page.
"The 40 days of Lent that lead to Easter are the most sacred and spiritually powerful in the Christian calendar," St. James Union AME Church of Delaware also shared with followers via Facebook.