Wednesday, February 17, 2021

 

 

ASH WEDNESDAY
FEBRUARY 17, 2021
7:00PM

 

Ash Wednesday helps us come clean and name the brokenness in our lives. It is a time to seek forgiveness, change, and find God’s healing. It can also help us put things in perspective as we name our mortality and finitude–so real for many of us during this time of Covid. For some people this can be scary to think about, but it can also bring peace by putting things in perspective and realizing that “in life and in death we belong to God.”
Wishing you that peace and a new beginning for today.

 

WELCOME

We begin our Lenten Journey together with a worship experience unlike any other throughout the year. This night sets the path before us that leads us deep into the heart of being a human person in covenant relationship with God in community. We remember Jesus’ 40 days and nights of desert solitude beginning with this night. The early Christian practice of receiving a touch of ash on our foreheads (created from the burning of the Palm branches of last springs’s Palm Sunday service) reminds us of God’s tender understanding of human nature and of the transforming love of Jesus.

 

OLD TESTAMENT READING                                   Joel 2:1-2, 12-17

2:1 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming, it is near-
2:2 a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.
2:12 Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
2:13 rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.
2:14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God?
2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly;
2:16 gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy.
2:17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep. Let them say, “Spare your people, O LORD, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
THIS IS THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD….THANKS BE TO GOD

 

THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS

 

PSALTER READING                                                   Psalm 51:1-17

51:1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
51:3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
51:4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
51:5 Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
51:6 You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
51:8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
51:9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
51:11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
51:13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
51:14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
51:15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
51:16 For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
51:17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
THIS IS THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD….THANKS BE TO GOD

 

THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS

 

GOSPEL LESSON                                                        Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

6:1 “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
6:2 “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
6:3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
6:4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
6:5 “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
6:6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
6:16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
6:17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
6:18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal;
6:20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.
6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD…THANKS BE TO GOD

 

CONFESSION OF FAITH   by Barb Hedges-Goettl

We gather together as the church
When we can’t summon our “Jesus-loves-me” smiles
When we are not feeling happy or better
When traditions don’t seem to suffice
When we know all too well that we are ashes and dust
Then God calls us to return to God.
We gather together as the church
When we are not sure how to come before God
When we miss being in our building
When we miss being with our community
When all seems strange and uncertain
Then God calls us to return to God.
We gather together as the church
When we need to lament
When we are a grieving people, a weeping people,
When we are dependent on God for help and healing
When we seek God’s Kingdom until that Kingdom comes
Then God calls us to return to God.
We gather together as the church
Because God creates in us a clean heart, a new and right spirit within us
Because God restores to us the joy of salvation, sustaining in us a willing spirit
Because God does not cast us away, or take God’s holy spirit from us
Because God restores to us the joy of God’s salvation, sustaining in us a willing spirit
we gather together as the church. THANKS BE TO GOD!

 

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

May the grace of God be with each one of us on our journey toward healing and new life. Let us be assured of God’s forgiveness and loving presence. Let us also be aware of God’s patient urgings to walk with Jesus toward our own Jerusalems and toward whatever challenges and joys lie ahead.

 

THANKSGIVING OVER THE ASHES

L: The Lord be with you.
P: And also with you.
L: Let us pray: (unison)
Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth; Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, so that we may remember that only by your gracious gift are we given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

 

IMPOSITION OF ASHES

L: Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

 

UNISON PRAYER

Loving and merciful God, we have offered our confessions as a symbol of our desire to let go of our past mistakes and begin again. We have been anointed with ashes as a reminder of our mortality and our dependence on you. Just as ashes fertilize the ground and help new plants grow, so may these ashes remind us of your Spirit, which gives us new life and helps us grow. We have been anointed with oil as a sign of your healing power in our lives. O God, thank you for the gifts of forgiveness and new life. Amen.

 

BENEDICTION

Lord, be with us as we go today. Guide our hearts and our steps. Give us courage and strength to be your disciples. Lead us to the joy that awaits all true believers. Let us go forth now into this Lenten season on our journey of healing and new beginnings. AMEN

 

 

 

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on February 17, 2021

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