On Ash Wednesday, we gathered for a time of contemplation; preparing our hearts for the Lenten journey that awaits. We prayed in repentance, lifted voices in worship, and received ashes as a reminder not only of our mortality and brokenness, but also as a reminder of our identity as God's beloved children. Our hope is that each of us would be changed in these coming weeks; that in setting certain distractions, vices, and comforts aside, we might create space for God to transform us in ways that would continue far beyond our Resurrection celebration.
Here are pieces from our Ash Wednesday liturgy.
Self-examination is not morbid introspection or self-condemnation, but the honest, fearless confrontation of the self, and its abandonment to God in trust.”
God in heaven, you have helped my life to grow like a tree. Now something has happened. Satan, like a bird, has carried in one twig of his own choosing after another. Before I knew it he had built a dwelling place and was living in it. Tonight, my Father, I am throwing out both the bird and the nest.
As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus' thirst...'Repent and believe' Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart. What are we to believe? Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor -- He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you."
-Mother Teresa of Calcutta
We always carry around in our bodies the reality of the brutal death and suffering of Jesus. As a result, His resurrection life rises and reveals its wondrous power in our bodies as well. For while we live, we are constantly handed over to death on account of Jesus so that His life may be revealed even in our mortal bodies of flesh. So death is constantly at work in us, but life is working in you.
2 Corinthians 4:10-12
Invitation to a Holy Lent
We invite you to join us in faithful observance of this sacred season; by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. We invite you into a pilgrimage with Jesus and with one another, for the next 40 days towards the cross. This is a journey of slowing down and stripping away, a search for clarity and direction, an acknowledgement of the ways we've allowed earthly abundance to become our default setting. This season is a chance to explore the state of our hearts, and seek to identify and remove that which separates our time, thought, and energy from fully participating in God’s mission and reconciling work. As N.T. Wright puts it, “We fast because as those already caught up in Jesus’ kingdom project, in God’s new world, we need to be sure that we are saying a firm goodbye to everything in us that still clings to the old.”
Psalm 51: 1-17
Isaiah 58: 1-12
Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18
White as Snow
Dust We Are and Shall Return
Come Ye Sinners
Benediction: Marked by Ashes - by Walter Brueggemann
Ruler of the Night, Guarantor of the day . . .
This day — a gift from you.
This day — like none other you have ever given, or we have ever received.
This Wednesday dazzles us with gift and newness and possibility.
This Wednesday burdens us with the tasks of the day, for we are already halfway home
halfway back to committees and memos,
halfway back to calls and appointments,
halfway on to next Sunday,
halfway back, half frazzled, half expectant,
half turned toward you, half rather not.
All our Wednesdays are marked by ashes —
we begin this day with that taste of ash in our mouth:
of failed hope and broken promises,
of forgotten children and frightened women,
we ourselves are ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
we can taste our mortality as we roll the ash around on our tongues.
We are able to ponder our ashness with
some confidence, only because our every Wednesday of ashes
anticipates your Easter victory over that dry, flaky taste of death.
On this Wednesday, we submit our ashen way to you —
you Easter parade of newness.
Before the sun sets, take our Wednesday and Easter us,
Easter us to joy and energy and courage and freedom;
Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.
Come here and Easter our Wednesday with
mercy and justice and peace and generosity.
We pray as we wait for the Risen One who comes soon.