a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

ash wednesday service: forgive our conditions

This is the service we are using after a Pancake Supper. We are actually using a local cafe (owned and operated by church members) as our dinner space AND our worship space. After the pancake Supper (a mash-up of Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday in one evening) the gathering music will begin. What follows is what is printed in our bulletin.

GATHERING SONG (Wait for the Lord)

SCRIPTURE READING (Matthew 11:28-30)

A MOMENT OF SILENCE

ASH WEDNESDAY LITANY AND PRAYER

One: God of our completeness…
we give thanks for the gift of life.
All: We see the world around us…all you have created…
and, at times, we are in awe of its beauty.

One: God of our wholeness…
we give thanks for the gift of love.
All: We reflect on the life of Jesus…who promises rest…
and, at times, we are ready to follow.

One: God of our entire being…
we give thanks for the gift of sustaining nourishment.
All: We catch glimpses of your Spirit moving among us…
and, at times, we are ready to receive.

One: God…your love is unconditional…
All: Forgive our conditions.

One (sung): Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison.

All (sung): Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison.

One: You created us in your image,
and you long for us to share our life together…
All: But I’m more interested in my own life.
One: You long for us to have compassion for one another…
All: But I’m more interested in my own needs.
One: You long for us to peacefully listen to one another…
All: But I’m more interested in my own opinions.
One: God…your love is unconditional…
All: Forgive our conditions.

One (sung): Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison.

All (sung): Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison.

One: You draw us together,
and call us to be your church…
All: to be your light, shining in the shadows…
to be your salt, seasoning a sapless society.

One: You envision the community we call “church”
to be a reflection of life as you intend for all creation.
All: But we’re more interested in deciding
who’s in and who’s out…
who’s right and who’s wrong…
who’s a Christian and who’s not…
who belongs at our table, and who doesn’t.

One: God…your love is unconditional…
All: Forgive our conditions.

One (sung): Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison.

All (sung): Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison.

One: You see in us a potential that is beyond our imaginations.
All: We see the comfort of the status quo.
One: During this season, you call us to a place of renewal.
All: We know that “renewal” is code for “change”.
One: We don’t like change…
All: most of the time.
One: But deep down, we long for your renewal…
All: we need your renewal…
One: we welcome your renewal…
All: so forgive us…transform us…renew us…

One (sung): Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison.

All (sung): Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison.

THE IMPOSITION OF ASHES

At this time, you are invited to stand up and walk to one of two people near the middle of the Cafe holding a bowl of ashes, some of which they will place on your forehead or on the back of your hand (if you prefer) in the shape of a cross as a reminder that we were created from dust, and it is to dust that we shall return. Our theme for Lent this year is renewal. You are encouraged to reflect on what experiencing renewal might mean for you.

As the elder places the ashes on your forehead or hand, he/she will say to you:

You are created from dust,
and it is to dust that you shall return
resting peacefully in the grace of God.

SCRIPTURE READING (Psalm 51:1-15)

This Psalm will be read slowly during the imposition of ashes as we remember who we are and whose we are…as we remember that we are created from dust, and it is to dust that we shall return, resting peacefully in the grace of God.

A MOMENT OF SILENCE

BENEDICTION

A member of the church who is an artist is bringing 2 of her paintings…one with a dark theme and one with a light, celebratory theme. The dark painting will be displayed on the table at the beginning of the service. When the 15th verse of the Psalm is read…the dark painting will be replaced by the celebratory painting.

“Wait for the Lord” is a song from “Songs and Prayers for Taize”

Our sung Kyrie response is from “Taize: Songs for Prayer”

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY) using a mash-up of thoughts from a LiturgyLink Ash Wednesday brainstorming session.

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