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Ash Wednesday Service
Pam Smith
Pam Smith
Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Ash Wednesday


PRELUDE       O Lord, throughout These Forty Days        ELW 319

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.

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 shut our ears 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.

Our past 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 exploitation
of other people, we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Our negligence in 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 neglect 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 uncharitable 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 those who 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.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Let us pray.
A brief silence is kept.
Gracious God, out of your love and mercy you breathed into dust and breath of life, creating us to serve you and our neighbors. Call forth our 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:     Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Because of the coming Day of the Lord, the prophet Joel calls the people to a community lament. The repentant community reminds God of God’s gracious character and asks God to spare the people, lest the nations doubt God’s power to save.

1Blow 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 —
 2a 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.
 12Yet even now, says the LORD,
 return to me with all your heart,
 with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
 13rend 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.
 14Who 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?
 15Blow the trumpet in Zion;
 sanctify a fast;
 call a solemn assembly;
 16gather 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.
 17Between 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?'"

The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

PSALM 103:8-14    (in unison)
8The LORD is merciful and gracious,
 slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
 9He will not always accuse,
 nor will he keep his anger forever.
 10He does not deal with us according to our sins,
 nor repay us according to our iniquities.
 11For as the heavens are high above the earth,
 so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
 12as far as the east is from the west,
 so far he removes our transgressions from us.
 13As a father has compassion for his children,
 so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him.
 14For he knows how we were made;
 he remembers that we are dust.

GOSPEL: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus commends almsgiving, prayer, and fasting, but emphasizes that spiritual devotion must not be done for show.

[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.


SERMON       Pastor Pamela Smith

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 and kneel or stand 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.

Turning our hearts to God who is gracious and merciful, we pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.

A brief silence.

Merciful God, refresh the hearts of your faithful people across all lands and generations. Rescue your church from affliction, hardship, or persecution. Remove all obstacles standing in the way of our witness to your grace, mercy, and ever-lasting love. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.

Renewing God, bless all wilderness places and all inhabitants of the land. Protect untouched ecosystems, satisfy parched places, and strengthen roots and seeds beneath the soil that await their time to flourish. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.

Restoring God, rebuild and repair nations ravaged by war or famine. Humble the hearts of governments and authorities, that they loose the bonds of injustice and liberate the oppressed. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.

Generous God, provide bread for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, and
protection for the vulnerable. Listen to the cries of all who are abused, imprisoned,
and who suffer due to pain, anxiety, or illness, particularly Alena, Jenna, Marilyn,
Jerod & Julia, Nick, Julie, Jean, Marcella, Michael, Anne, JoAnn, Sandy, Beth,
Johnny, Allen & Lorry, Betty, Dione, Theresa, Dottie, Tim, Henry, Mary, Greg,
Ann Joyce, Barbara, & Shelby. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.

Faithful God, renew our practices of devotion and discipleship. Make us generous in giving, steadfast in prayer, and attentive to your grace amid many distractions. Be with those who prepare for baptism and affirmation of baptism. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.

Redeeming God, you raise us from the dust of death and mark us with the cross of salvation. Strengthen us by the faithfulness of the saints. Restore our joy and lead us by your bountiful grace. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.

According to your steadfast love, O God, hear these and all our prayers as we commend them to you; through Christ our Lord.

Our Father in heaven,
        hallowed be your name,
    your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
        on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
    as we forgive those
        who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
    and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
        and the glory are yours,
        now and forever. Amen.

HYMN     Bless Now, O God, the Journey     ELW 326

Bless now, O God, the journey
that all your people make,
the path through noise and silence,
the way of give and take.
The trail is found in desert
and winds the mountain round,
then leads beside still waters,
the road where faith is found.

Bless sojourners and pilgrims
who share this winding way;
your hope burns through the terrors,
your love sustains the day.
We yearn for holy freedom
while often we are bound;
together we are seeking
the road where faith is found.

Divine eternal lover,
you meet us on the road.
We wait for land of promise
where milk and honey flow,
but waiting not for places,
you meet us all around.
Our covenant is written
on roads, as faith is found.


POSTLUDE     Be Thou My Vision     ELW 793


O Lord, throughout These Forty Days  Text: based on Claudia F. Hernaman, 1838-1898; para. Gilbert E. Doan Jr., b. 1930;  Music: A. Davisson, Kentucky Harmony, 1816; arr. Theodore A. Beck, 1929-2003; Text © 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship, admin. Augsburg Fortress.  Music Arr. © Concordia Publishing House.  Both Text and Music Reprinted and/or streamed with permission under OneLicense #A-722274.  All rights reserved.

Bless Now, O God, the Journey  Text: Sylvia G. Dunstan, 1955-1993. Text © 1991 GIA Publications, Inc., Reprinted and/or streamed with permission under OneLicense #A-722274.  All rights reserved.  Music: Welsh tune, 19th cent. 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.