Video from Gotquestions.org
"What is Ash Wednesday? Should a Christian observe lent fasting? In this video, Pastor Nelson looks at the Ash Wednesday meaning and unpacks why Ash Wednesday fasting is significant to some, even though it's not directly found anywhere in the Bible." from video introduction
Our Protestant ancestors revolted against the idea of Lenten practices. In the pre-Reformation mind, penitence, ashes, and self-denial were ends an end unto themselves. Over time a biblical understanding of lament has re-entered Christian orthodoxy concerning our fallen-ness.
Ashes on the forehead rightly represent our need to “repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5–6), and our identity as “a people of unclean lips who dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). Jesus pronounced a blessing upon those who recognize their poverty of spirit and mourn the effects of sin on their life and in the world (Matthew 5:3–4).