East Brentwood Presbyterian Church

Ash Wednesday 2015

Plan B – in lieu of the snow and the cancellation of our service

Opening Prayer

The season of Lent calls us to journey along the edge, to anticipate that final trip to Jerusalem.

Lent calls us to the cutting edge, when the wheat falls to the ground and new life comes forth.

Lent not only calls us to give up something, but also invites us to participate in the mystery of God-with-us.

By your grace, call us from grief into gladness, despair into hope, estrangement into right relations with each other and with the earth.

 Prayer of Confession (based on Psalm 51)

God of Compassion,

We turn toward you now. We rend our hearts.

Forgive our pride and forgive our insecurities.

Forgive our self-absorption and forgive our self-destruction.

Forgive our doubts and forgive our confidence.

Forgive our longing for attention and forgive our desire to hide.

Forgive each step we take away from you.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. And renew a right spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence. Do not take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of my salvation, and grant a willing spirit to sustain me.”

 Scripture Lessons (click on the passages to read the texts)            Isaiah 58:1–12                      Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21

 Prayers of Petition

Almighty and everlasting God, you breathed into dust the breath of life, creating us for fellowship with you. You brought about our redemption through Jesus Christ to restore us to fellowship with you. Today we acknowledge you as our Creator and Redeemer. We acknowledge the frailty of our lives, the pain of our sinfulness, and even the weakness of our faith. Work in us, we pray, a spirit of true humility and fervor, as we join now to offer our prayers to you.

(time of silent reflection and additional prayer)

 Imposition of Ashes

Consider taking olive oil or an ash from a candle wick or from your fireplace.  Ashes serve as a sign of human mortality and penitence and as a reminder that only by God’s grace in Jesus Christ are we given eternal life. Make the sign of the cross on your hand or your forehead. Say the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

The season of Lent calls Christians to embrace the faith journey by reflecting upon and deepening their relationship with God and by acting upon their Christian beliefs.  Although often considered a time for giving up something as a way of symbolizing Jesus’ sacrifice and his struggle in the wilderness, the forty days of Lent also offer an opportunity for taking up. During this season, we are invited to thoughtfully take up the gifts of faith—worship, study, prayer, and service—in preparation for Holy Week and Christ’s journey to the cross.