22

February 2023

Feb

The Fast We Choose

Learning to Live Inside Out

Ash Wednesday, Year A

Ash Wednesday is an inside-out act of worship. We come and confess and are reminded of both our sinfulness and our mortality. And yet we are given a visible mark in the imposition of ashes, a way of letting the world know that we are people of faith.

Introduction

The Ash Wednesday liturgy revolves around the central ritual of the imposition of ashes. In this ritual, Ash Wednesday also launches us into the season of Lent, albeit somberly. Thus, the imposition of ashes is not only a mark of confession before God and a reminder of our human frailty, but also a physical sign that we are entering a new time in the Christian Year. Not just season—time. Time in Lent stretches out, slowing us down so we can stop and notice this road that leads to the cross. Pay attention to the difference between watching and noticing. We are not mere spectators of the road to Calvary. As followers of Christ, we journey toward the cross with Jesus. Ash Wednesday sends us off on our Lenten journey clothed with confession, repentance, and ashes to notice and join Jesus and our fellow travelers on the road to the cross. Just as we do not see our own ashes unless they are reflected back to us in a mirror or through an encounter with our neighbor, so the Lenten journey straddles the tension and flow of the inward and outward Christian life. Consider, then, how the Ash Wednesday liturgy can invite those gathered into awareness and intentionality as we live in the inside-out tension of Lent.

Greeting

(facing the front of the sanctuary)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
And also with you.

Why have we gathered today?
We gather to confess our sins and bring a sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart to God, who forgives us and frees us for joyful obedience. Today, we join one another and Christ on the road to the cross and commit ourselves to the Lenten journey ahead of us. May we be faithful to keeping a Lenten fast of justice, charity, and flourishing before God, self, and neighbor.

Written by Dr. Lisa Hancock, Director of Worship Arts, August 2022.

Prayer of Confession

Designate which portion of the gathering is Voice 1 and Voice 2. The celebrant serves as the single voice. The celebrant and a second lay or clergy member lead from the front, each indicating through gesture when Voice 1 and Voice 2 speak, respectively.

Single Voice: Creator God, you fashioned us out of dust,
breathing your Spirit into us,
so we might sing your praise.

Voice 1: But we have denounced your gift of life
in order to be our own gods,
clinging to death-dealing idols of our own making.

Voice 2: We have denied our creaturely status,
seeking to lord it over those we label “less-than.”

V1: We squelch all who are different
through ignoring, belittling, murdering, and bombing.

V2: We believe survival-of-the-fittest lies,
discounting the weak,
and profiting by others’ pain.

Single voice: Not trusting your providence,
We stop our ears to the cries of those in need
Because we’re afraid we won’t have enough.

V1: We have been unfaithful stewards, O Lord.

V2: We live in a state of sin among a people of sin.

V1: Save for your grace, we perish.

V2: Remember our making, Creator God;
remember we are dust.

All: Have mercy on us according to your loving kindness.
Breathe new life into us once more,
so we might be the people you created us to be.
Restore unto us the joy of your salvation
that we might do justice, love kindness,
and walk humbly with the Lord Jesus Christ,
in whose name we pray,
Amen.

“Corporate Confession of Sin” found in Ash Wednesday Service from the Presbyterian Church (USA) Presbyterian Mission, https://www.presbyterianmission.org/resource/ash-wednesday-service-baptized-dust (pdf, pages 1 and 2).

A Prayer for the Beginning of Lent

God of Eternal Love,
We have made our commitment to You,
and have started a new journey into purposeful growth.
But, we know that if we are to remain faithful
we need Your help and Your strength.

So, we ask...
Teach us to pray with faith and read Your Word with understanding.
Teach us to worship with passion and gather together with love.
Teach us to give generously,
serve compassionately
and use our time mindfully,
so that we may reflect Your goodness,
and that others may discover Your grace through us.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Written by John van de Laar and posted on Sacredise.com.

Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/search/label/Ash%20Wednesday?updated-max=2019-03-17T12:46:00-05:00&max-results=20&start=5&by-date=false.

Benediction

(facing the exit from the sanctuary)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ go with you.
And also with you.

Why are we sent today?
We go to confess God’s love to a broken and hurting world. As we wear the ashes of penitence on our bodies, so we carry the reconciling love of God we have received to a world sorely in need of justice, abundance, and flourishing. Amen.

Written by Dr. Lisa Hancock, Director of Worship Arts, August 2022.

In This Series...


Ash Wednesday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes First Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes

Colors


  • Purple

In This Series...


Ash Wednesday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes First Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes