Liturgy

Ash Wednesday Litany of Reconciliation and Litany Leading to Prayer

A 21st Century Worship Resource
by The Rev. Joseph W. Daniels, Jr.
A Litany of Reconciliation
(Based on the Hymn of Invitation, "Come Home")
Leader: Come on home tonight (today), and worship the Lord.

People: We're coming home tonight (today).

Leader: Those beat down, needing a build up.

People: Come on home to God tonight (today).

Leader: Those jailed unjustly, looking for justice.

People: Come on home to God tonight (today).

Leader: Those roughed up in riots, lost in labor fights, sad because of sleepless nights, heavy because our stomachs hunger for righteousness.

People: Come on home to God tonight (today).

Leader: We who are weary come home. Come home from sin and home from shame. Come home from dishonor and home from disdain. Come home to be made whole, come home for nourishment of the soul.

People: We who are weary come home.

Leader: We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

People: God has a blessing for us. Come home. Let us worship God.


A Litany Leading to Prayer
(Based on Joel 2:1-2, 12-17)

Leader: Even now, return to me.

People: Even now, God says, return to me.

Leader: Let the sirens in the streets rage; let the trumpet from the church house blow. Let those consumed with darkness, gloomy from bad fortunes know that:

People: Even now, God says, return to me.

Leader: Let the abused and abusing hear, the defiant and disobedient revere. Let the sinner and the scornful draw near.

People: Even now, God says, return to me.

Leader: Return from your ignorance, return from your injustice. Return from your apathy, return from your agony.

People: Even now, God says, return to me.

Leader: Return from your selfishness, return from your greed. Return from your neglect, return out of your need.

People: Even now, God says, return to me.

Leader: Return to me, with a clean heart. Return to me with fasting, weeping, and mourning.

People: Return to me, God says, for I am gracious and merciful; I am slow to anger and full of steadfast love. Return to me, God says, for I am your God.

See the Spanish language version of this litany: Aún Ahora, Regresen a Mí

Congregational Prayer
(Based on Psalm 51)

God, on this Ash Wednesday, we come before you acknowledging your greatness, exalting your supreme power, declaring that you are the God of our salvation. We come confessing the multitude of our transgressions known and unknown. God, we know that we have not helped the needy when there has been need. We have been greedy even in the land of plenty. Lord, we know that we've abused our brother, misused our sister, forgot about our parents, "played" our friends. We're guilty and we need your grace. And so we bow before you, kneel before you, lay down prostrate before you, asking that you would intervene for our sinful, sorrowful, and sick souls. Have mercy on us 'cause we need you to respond to our human need. Wash us, 'cause we're dirty from our indiscretions. Teach us so that we may live and declare your truth. Purge us, so that the shame of today will not be the guilt of tomorrow. Create in us newness of life, happiness of heart. Restore to us the full blessings of heaven. Deliver us from the penalty we deserve. And we will rise up. We will stand up. We will get up and live up to the expectations of your calling on our lives. These things we pray in the powerful and mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

Offertory Prayer

Lord, as we worship you through our tithes and offerings, help us. Help us to give with a sincere heart. Help us, Lord. Help us not to bring attention to ourselves through our giving, but to place attention on your goodness by our obedience. Help us, Lord. In our poverty, help us not to be stingy with our substance; in our wealth, help us not to be cheap in our charity. But help us Lord. Help us to surrender to you what is needed to bless others, with a treasured heart that gives cheerfully, hilariously, and gladly. Help us, Lord. And would you be pleased with our gifts. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.



The Rev. Joseph W. Daniels, Jr. is the Senior Pastor of Emory United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C.

Categories: 21st Century Africana, 21st Century Liturgy, Lent - Easter - Holy Week, Lent, Ash Wednesday