Ash Wednesday Liturgy
ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE February 17, 2021
In the early days of the Church, the season of Lent was a time of preparation for those who were preparing for Baptism on Easter Sunday. Since these new members were becoming part of a living community of faith, the entire community was called to preparation.
Today, the season of Lent is a time of prayer, fasting, self-examination, and penitence for all Christians as we prepare to celebrate Easter. Through this forty-day journey, we are reminded that we are totally dependent upon God.
Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 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.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21, 6:1-2
So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,
“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
This is the Word of God for the people of God.
Thanks be to God!
The season of Lent reminds us how much we need grace in our lives in order to live a transformed life that reflects God’s love. We are called to renew our commitments and our faith, as we continually acknowledge our need of God’s transforming presence.
You are invited to observe a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word. To make a right beginning of repentance, let us now invite God to examine our hearts as we worship together.
THANKSGIVING OVER THE ASHES
The Church has traditionally used ashes as a sign of repentance and our mortality as human beings. If you have ashes present, you may pray the following:
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, 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
If you have ashes with you, you are invited to dip your thumb in the ashes and make the sign of the cross on your forehead;
If you do not have ashes with you, you are invited to trace the sign of the cross on your forehead, and all say:
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
CONFESSION AND PARDON
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from death, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt offering,
you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
May the Almighty and Merciful God, who desires not the death of the sinner, accept your repentance, forgive your sins, and restore you by the Holy Spirit to newness of life.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them up to the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give God thanks and praise! You bid us cleanse our hearts; We give you thanks, O Lord. You wash us clean and new; We give you thanks, O Lord. You sacrifice your Son for us;
We give you thanks, O Lord. Your redemption is on our heads; Your mark is our joy, thanks be to you, O Lord, our God! Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Go in peace to serve God and your neighbor in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.