Ash Wednesday Service for February 18, 2015

GATHERING

GREETING*
+++The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
+++And also with you.
+++Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins.
+++God’s mercy endures for ever.

OPENING PRAYER* 353

HYMN *Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days United Methodist Hymnal 269 (To the tune of Amazing Grace)

SCRIPTURE LESSON Joel 2:1 –2, 12–17

PSALM 51:1–17 United Methodist Hymnal 785

SCRIPTURE LESSON 2 Corinthians 5:20 b –6:10

HYMN * It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord United Methodist Hymnal 352

GOSPEL LESSON* Matthew 6:1 –6, 16–21

SERMON

INVITATION TO THE OBSERVANCE OF LENTEN DISCIPLINE
+++Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
+++The early Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church that before the Easter celebration there should be a forty–day season of spiritual preparation.
+++During this season converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism.
+++It was also a time when persons who had committed serious sins and had separated themselves from the community of faith were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to participation in the life of the Church.
+++In this way the whole congregation was reminded of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the need we all have to renew our faith.
+++I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to observe a holy Lent:
++++++by self–examination and repentance;
++++++by prayer, fasting, and self–denial;
++++++and by reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word.
+++To make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel (bow) before our Creator and Redeemer.
A brief silence is kept, the congregation kneeling or bowed.

THANKSGIVING OVER THE ASHES
Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth. Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, so that we may remember that only by your gracious gift are we given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

IMPOSITION OF ASHES *
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

CONFESSION AND PARDON United Methodist Hymnal 890
All offer prayers of confession in silence. The pastor then says:
May the almighty and merciful God, who desires not the death of a sinner but that we turn from wickedness and live, accept your repentance, forgive your sins, and restore you by the Holy Spirit to newness of life. Amen.

THE PEACE *
Let us offer one another signs of reconciliation and love.

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

THE LORD’S PRAYER

HYMN * Have Thine Own Way, Lord United Methodist Hymnal 382

DISMISSAL WITH BLESSING *

GOING FORTH *

Copyright: “A Service of Worship for Ash Wednesday” Copyright © 1979, 1986 by Abingdon Press. Renewal Copyright © 1992 UMPH. “Invitation to the Observance of the Lenten Discipline,” “Thanksgiving over the Ashes,” and “Pardon” from The Book of Common Prayer (The Episcopal Church, 1979), 264-269. Public Domain.

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