Looking at the Past
It involves the past and we need to focus on the current life and look forward to the future. Ash Wednesday is the day when the journey toward Easter starts. It helps us to ponder the past, to analyze the current, and to look forward toward the future.
Based on the Bible, ashes represent regret. To show his sadness, Job covered himself in ashes. The ashes from last year’s palms remind us that even though we may have obtained Christ, we need to keep our faith in Him.
Analyzing Our Current Life
While Jesus questioned his audience to ponder the truth that those who are healthy don’t need a doctor, he was asking each of them to analyze themselves. Those who determine that they are sick will consult a doctor and only when we acknowledge our sin can receive His forgiveness. Ash Wednesday reminds us that Jesus Christ is indispensable for our eternal and forgiveness of sins. Have we forgotten that our need is everyday? Colossians 2:6 emphasizes, “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him.”
Looking to the Future
Our destination is Easter Sunday which is about the resurrection. Some people festive holidays without true meanings. For instance, Thanksgiving Day without thanksgiving, Christmas day without Jesus Christ as the Savior, and the Easter Sunday without the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Biblical verses to ponder for Ash Wednesday
If you’d like to begin thinking and observing Lent and Ash Wednesday, here are a few Biblical verses specific to Ash Wednesday to mediate on, and then you can pray to observe the day.
• Our Creation: Genesis 2:7
Then the Lord God took dust from the ground and formed a man from it. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nose, and the man became a living person.
You will sweat and work hard for your food. Later you will return to the ground, because you were taken from it. You are dust, and when you die, you will return to the dust.
Take away my sin, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Make me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you crushed be happy again. Turn your face from my sins and wipe out all my guilt. Create in me a pure heart, God, and make my spirit right again.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will have life even if they die."
1.What do I do now?
The LCMS cannot direct members of LCMS congregations that they should refuse the vaccine or seek an accommodation. As LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison said in his statement, the decision to receive the vaccine or not is one that should be made by each individual. The role of the LCMS is to provide you resources for you to prayerfully consider as you decide.
2. Should I take the COVID-19 vaccine?
This is a question only you can answer. Some may choose not to receive the vaccine because of concerns over its relation to abortion or because of other health complications. Others may be vaccinated despite such reservations out of concern for their own health or that of their neighbor. Since neither Scripture nor the Synod has explicitly addressed this issue, it remains a matter of Christian freedom, which you must decide according to your individual conscience.
3. Can I obtain a religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine?
Religious or personal belief exemptions are based on conscientious objection and do not require official support from the denomination. The absence of an official Synod stance does not impact your ability to seek an exemption. In fact, most requests for religious exemption must be for personal, deeply held religious convictions, and not for the position of a church body or church official.
You might review our excellent previous Mustard article from Pastor Ron Friedrich (March-April 2021 "Ask Pastor").
Waiting is hard. Nine times Old Testament Psalms ask “How long, Lord!?”
“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Psalm 13:1
“How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever?” Psalm 79:5
The Lord’s love never ends;
his mercies never stop.
They are new every morning;
Lord, your loyalty is great.
I say to myself, “The Lord is mine,
so I hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who hope in him,
to those who seek him.
It is good to wait quietly
for the Lord to save. (Lamentations 3:22-26)
as if you were in prison with them.
American & International
The President of the United States annually proclaims a day, week, or month, as annual events, and calls upon all Americans to observe them.
Libraries, service agencies, nonprofits, businesses, and others have been sponsoring whichever events that apply to them.
Awareness – Day Week, or Month
E.g., Alzheimer’s Diseases, Autism, Breast Cancer, Childhood’s Obesity, Disability Employment, Domestic Violence, Helen Keller Deaf-Blindness, Mental Health, Stalking, and other appropriate cultures.
What about Deaf Awareness? This term originated in 1972 by the State of Colorado when its Governor proclaimed a week in November as Deaf Awareness Week. Such a week, which was never proclaimed by the US President, has become obsolete after a few years due to the successful interaction of the deaf and the hearing.
Heritage – Day, Week, or Month
E.g., Asian American & Pacific Islander, Caribbean American, German American, Hispanic, Irish American, Jewish American, Native Americans, and other appropriate cultures.
What about Deaf Heritage? Never proclaimed by the US President, but the deaf community may use the name whenever their social organization, a school for the deaf, and museum sponsor festivals and the related. Things such as works of arts, cultural achievements, and folklore that have passed on from earlier deaf generations to the present deaf generation!
History – Day, Week, or Month
E.g., African American, Black, Women, and other appropriate cultures.
History refers to an account of events that have happened in the past. What about Deaf History? Not yet proclaimed by the US President, but the public may go ahead to observe it. Such an annual event helps expose the knowledge of deaf history. Organizations Serving the Deaf (OSD) and library service to the public, especially the American Deaf Community.
Specialty – Day, Week, or Month
E.g., Adoption, American Red Cross, Education and Sharing, Family Caretakers, Farm Safety and Health, Foster Care, Grandparents, Great Outdoors, Mentoring, Older Americans, Parks, Public Service Recognition, Small Business, Volunteer, United Nations, and other appropriate cultures.
B. Deaf Events
1. February 11 – Inventors’ Day
A US presidential proclamation by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. Birth date of Thomas A. Edison.
To recognize the enormous contribution inventors, make to the nation and the world.
Edison said that his deafness was an asset! It allowed him to work with less distraction and to sleep deeply, undisturbed by outside sounds.
2. March 6 – National Deaf Youth Day
Since 2017. Formed during the term of National Association of the Deaf President Christopher Wagner (2012-2016). To recognize and bring together deaf youth from schools for the deaf, mainstream programs, and academic institutions. Contact via Email: email@example.com.
3. March 13 – April 15 – Deaf History Month
Since 1997. Endorsed in 2006 by the American Library Association and the National Association of the Deaf. To commemorate the three most important deaf milestones in American history.
- March 13, 1988: The first Deaf Civil Rights Victory which led to the passage of the American with Disabilities (ADA), signed into law on July 26, 1990.
- April 8, 1864: Charter signed by the US President Abraham Lincoln, authorizing the Board of Directors of the Columbia Institution (now Gallaudet University) to grant college degree to deaf students. The first and only liberal arts college in the world was founded for the deaf in America.
- April 15, 1817: the first public school for the Deaf in America, known as the American School for the Deaf, opened in Hartford, CT.
4. April – Last Sunday – Mother Father Deaf Day
Since 1964. A private organization maintained and governed by CODA International members founded by Children of Deaf Adults. To give members the opportunity to honor their deaf parents and to recognize the gifts of culture and language they received.
5. May – Better Hearing and Speech Month.
Founded in 1927 by American Speech and Hearing Association, a national membership professional organization with a purpose to make effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all.
6. June – the full week that includes June 27
National Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week.
A US Presidential proclamation in 1984. To observe the birth anniversary of Helen Keller, who was born on June 27th in 1880, and in recognition of the achievements of people who are DeafBlind.
7. September – the full week from Monday to last Sunday of the month
International Week of the Deaf
(IWDeaf), formed by the World Federation of the Deaf in 2009. September 23 is the International Day of Sign Languages as proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2018.
8. December 3 – 10 is Clerc-Gallaudet Week
Launched December 1-7, 1974, by the DC Public Library in cooperation with the National Association of the Deaf and the DC community. It was then called Deaf Awareness Week followed by Deaf Action Week and Deaf Heritage Week. International: Proclamation from the General Assembly of the United Nations.
- Dec. 3 - International Day of People with Disabilities since 1992 and
- Dec 10 – Human Rights Day since 1948.
C. Library Events
D. Deaf Culture: Ages, Ethnicities and Interests
Alice L. Hagemeyer, MLS. Honorary member, American Library Association.
Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action