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Ash Wednesday Service 02 22 2023
Pam Smith
Pam Smith
Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Ash Wednesday – 7 p.m.
A Service of Holy Communion


     (We begin in silence)

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

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

My friends in Christ, today with the whole Christian Church we enter the Season of Lent, a time in which we not only anticipate Jesus’ Passover from death to life, but also our life as faithful disciples and followers of Christ.

As we begin this holy season in a world torn again by war in Europe and also in places far flung from our everyday lives, we come face to face with our need for repentance and for God’s mercy. God intended that we would live our lives in joy in communion with God and in loving care for each other and in harmony with all of creation. Yet, our sinful rebellion and rejection of this love and communion and care in favor of our personal good and preferences means that we do not enjoy the life that our Creator intended for us.

As followers of Jesus and particularly in this season, we are called to a discipline that stands against evil and resists whatever leads us away from love of God and our neighbor. I invite you, therefore, into the season and the discipline of Lent, a discipline that engages in self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, and sacrificial giving and acts of love and kindness. In this discipline we are exhorted to partake in and be supported by the means of grace – the Word of God and the sacrament of the Holy Table as we gather together as the people of God.

Let us then continue this journey along the Way of Lent, stumbling and faltering as we may, as these forty days bring us to the Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.

     Silence is kept for reflection and self-examination.

Most holy and merciful God,
we confess to you and to one another,
and before the whole company of heaven,
that we have sinned by our fault,
by our own fault,
by our own most grievous fault,
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done
and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength.
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, O God.

We have closed our hearts to your call to serve as Christ served us.
We have not been true to the mind of Christ.
We have grieved your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on us, O God.

The times of unfaithfulness, the pride, envy, hypocrisy, and apathy
that have infected our lives,
we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our mistreatment
of other people,
we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Our neglect of prayer and worship,
and our failure to share the faith that is in us,
we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Our apathy of human need and suffering,
and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,
we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Our false judgments,
our unloving and unkind thoughts toward our neighbors,
and our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us,
we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Our waste and pollution of your creation,
and our lack of concern for the generations that come after us,
we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Restore us, O God, and let your anger depart from us.
Hear us, O God,
for your mercy is great.

Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth.  May these ashes be a sign of our mortality and penitence, reminding us that only by the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ are we given eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.   

     People may come forward to receive the ashes.

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

     After those who desire ashes have received them, the minister continues.

Accomplish in us, O God, the work of your salvation.
that we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son, our Savior
bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through
our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power 
of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life.
Let us pray.

     A brief silence is kept.

Gracious God, out of your love and mercy you breathed into dust the breath of life, creating us to serve you and our neighbors.  Stir in us prayers and acts of kindness, and strengthen us to face our mortality with confidence in the mercy of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


FIRST READING:   Isaiah 58:1-12
L: Shout out, do not hold back!
    Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
    to the house of Jacob their sins.
 Yet day after day they seek me
    and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
    and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
    they delight to draw near to God.

ALL: “Why do we fast, but you do not see?
    Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”

L: Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
    and oppress all your workers.
 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
    and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
    will not make your voice heard on high.
 Is such the fast that I choose,
    a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
    and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?
 Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of injustice,
    to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?
 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,    
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator[a] shall go before you,
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
If you remove the yoke from among you,
    the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
 if you offer your food to the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be like the noonday.
 The Lord will guide you continually,
    and satisfy your needs in parched places,
    and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters never fail.
 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
    you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
    the restorer of streets to live in.

The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:20b--6:10

5-20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
6:1As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For 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! 3We are putting no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see — we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.


Let your steadfast love come to us, O Lord.
Save us as you promised; we will trust your word.
Save us as you promised; we will trust your word.
GOSPEL:  Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

The holy gospel according to Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.

[Jesus said to the disciples:] 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.
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. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
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. 6But 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.
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. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so 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.
19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The gospel of the Lord.    
Praise to you, O Christ.



The Glory of These Forty Days
ELW 320

The glory of these forty days
we celebrate with songs of praise;
for Christ, through whom all things were made,
himself has fasted and has prayed.

Alone and fasting Moses saw
the loving God who gave the law;
and to Elijah, fasting, came
the steeds and chariots of flame.

So Daniel trained his mystic sight,
delivered from the lions' might;
and John, the Bridegroom's friend, became
the herald of Messiah's name.

Then grant, O God, that we may, too,
return in fast and prayer to you.
Our spirits strengthen with your grace,
and give us joy to see your face.

Drawn close to the heart of God, we offer these prayers for the church, the world, and all who are in need.

     A brief silence.

Renew your church, O God. When we have drifted from our call to proclaim repentance and to guide your people toward justice, lead us back to you. Encourage believers who welcome and embrace those who have been excluded. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Renew your creation, O God. Transform parched places into watered gardens and preserve every creature that awaits the arrival of spring. Turn each of us from practices of environmental exploitation to become responsible stewards of all you have made. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Renew our lives, O God. Spare your people from diseases of the body, mind and spirit; send healing to those overcome by illness or grief. Restore to us the joy of your salvation. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Renew this congregation, O God. During these forty days of Lent, confirm our sense of mission and expand our imagination for ministry. Deepen our faith, increase our love, and draw us into your unfolding work of healing and restoration. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Renew the nations of the world, O God.  Give all a will and the strength to beat swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.  Merciful God, 
receive our prayer.

Renew peace and security to the people of Ukraine.  Renew all in their resolve to seek peace and pursue it.  Merciful God,
hear our prayer.

As we stand with ashes on our foreheads, O God, we give you praise, for all the saints who died and yet are alive with you.  Receive us with them into your eternal embrace.  Merciful God, 
receive our prayer.

Accept the prayers we bring, O God, on behalf of a world in need, for the sake of Jesus Christ.


OFFERING MUSIC                

Offering Prayer        
Let us pray.
God our provider, you have not fed us with bread alone, but with words of grace and life. Bless us and these your gifts, which we receive from your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right, our duty and our joy,
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful 
God, through our Savior Jesus Christ.
You call your people to cleanse their hearts
and prepare with joy for the paschal feast,
that, renewed in the gift of baptism,
we may come to the fullness of your grace.
And so, with all the choirs of angels,
with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven,
we praise your name and join their unending hymn:


Holy, holy, holy Lord, 
Lord God of pow'r and might, 
Heav'n and earth are full of your glory.  
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed are you, O God of the universe.
Your mercy is everlasting
and your faithfulness endures from age to age.
Praise to you for creating the heavens and the earth.
Praise to you for saving the earth from the waters of the flood.
Praise to you for bringing the Israelites safely through the sea.
Praise to you for leading your people through the wilderness
to the land of milk and honey.
Praise to you for the words and deeds of Jesus, your anointed one.

Praise to you for the death and resurrection of Christ.
Praise to you for your Spirit poured out on all nations.
In the night in which he was betrayed,
our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;
broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.
Do this for the remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,
and gave it for all to drink, saying:
This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin.
Do this for the remembrance of me.
With this bread and cup we remember our Lord’s passover 
from death to life as we proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

O God of resurrection and new life:
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us and on these gifts of bread and wine.
Bless this feast. Grace our table with your presence.
Come, Holy Spirit.
Reveal yourself to us in the breaking of the bread.
Raise us up as the body of Christ for the world.
Breathe new life into us. Send us forth, burning with justice, 
peace, and love.
Come, Holy Spirit.
With your holy ones of all times and places, with the earth and all its creatures, with sun and moon and stars, we praise you, O God,
blessed and holy Trinity, now and forever.  

THE LORD’S PRAYER                                                        
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 and ever. Amen.


Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;
grant us peace.

The baptized children of God are invited by the Lord to the Lord’s Table where we receive Jesus’ very body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine.  We commune at the head of the aisle receiving the host and then moving to receive wine or grape juice by individual cup.  The ushers will direct you. Gluten free bread is available.  If you wish to commune, but cannot come forward, let an usher know and Pastor will come to you.  If you do not wish to commune, you are welcome to come forward to receive a blessing from Pastor.

Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
your word has been fulfilled. 
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of ev'ry people:
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

Let us pray.
Merciful God, accompany our journey through these forty days. Renew us in the waters of our baptism, that we may provide for those who are poor, pray for those in need, refrain from self-indulgence, and above all that we may find our treasure in the life of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 



SENDING SONG                    

Be Thou My Vision 
ELW 793

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art:
thou my best thought both by day and by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord.
Thou my soul's shelter, and thou my high tow'r,
raise thou me heav'nward, O Pow'r of my pow'r.

Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise,
thou mine inheritance, now and always:
thou and thou only, the first in my heart,
great God of heaven, my treasure thou art.

Light of my soul, after victory won,
may I reach heaven's joys, O heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

The Glory of These Forty Days, Text: Latin hymn, 11th cent.; tr. Maurice F. Bell, 18962-1947, atl. Text © Oxford University Press.  Text reprinted and/or streamed with permission under OneLicense #A-722274.  All rights reserved.Music: J. Klug, Geistliche Lieder, 1543.  Public domain.

Be Thou My Vision, Text: Irish, 8th cent.; vers. Eleanor H. Hull, 1860-1935, alt.; tr. Mary E. Byrne, 1880-1931, Music: Irish traditional.  Public domain.