Ash Wednesday begins the Christian season of Lent. We will spend the coming days journeying with Jesus toward the cross; toward the death that ultimately brings resurrection life. Many of us will spend these coming days practicing a new spiritual discipline or giving up something that seems to be getting in the way of the life we long to live.
We come together to acknowledge our sin, to acknowledge our mortality. We come to glimpse the Christ who offers forgiveness and who offers everlasting life.
Ashes have been used in Christian churches to mark the beginning of Lent since the 10th Century, and ashes are mentioned in Scripture as a symbol of purification and repentance. Today, the imposition of ashes are a physical reminder of our mortality and sin; an assurance of God’s forgiveness and salvation.
Ash Wednesday Prayer:
Holy, holy, holy God
We place ourselves in your presence; we rest in the promise of your grace.
Our minds and our spirits are cluttered with many thoughts and feelings that threaten to pull our attention away from you.
Let us unclench our fists and release these things:
We release all that we have done today–whether for good or for ill.
We release all that we feel like we should have done today, but did not do.
We release all that we need to do tomorrow.
We release our fear. We release our anxiety. We release our impatience. We release our pride.
All of the thoughts, all of the feelings that pull us away from you, O God, we release.
Fill us now with the joy and the peace of your deep, abiding presence.
We offer all of ourselves to you, our One God, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.
Scripture Reading: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Prayer of Confession:
O God of life, we confess the ways we turn away from the fullness of life that you offer.
God of love, we confess the hatred we hold in our hearts.
God of compassion, we confess our indifference.
God of justice, we confess that our lives are linked to oppressive systems.
God of peace, we confess the violent movements of our hearts, the violent realities of our world.
Holy God, we confess our sins to you.
Spacious Faith, March 2011
Learn more about Lent!
Click the link below to learn more about our upcoming sermon series, small groups, and the purpose of the Lenten season.