Ash Wednesday 2021 Worship
February 17, 2021 7:00pm
You are invited to light a candle at home,
and to provide your own receptacle to receive a small burned piece of paper.
PRELUDE Breathe on Me, Breath of God
WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP
We come to worship God as the Lenten season begins,
aware of our frailty and our failings.
We come seeking God’s mercy, acknowledging our mortality.
Having received the waters of baptism,
we come to be marked now with ashes.
May we humble ourselves before God, not with a yoke of burden but a mantle of freedom in Jesus’ name.
OPENING HYMN Just as I Am, without One Plea No. 442 (Because the singing of hymns is discouraged during this period of pandemic, you are invited to meditate on the verses below.)
Just as I am, without one plea
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou biddest me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come; I come!
Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come; I come!
Just as I am, thy love unknown
has broken every barrier down;
now to be thine, yea, thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come; I come!
CALL TO CONFESSION
God desires truth in the inward being and receives a broken spirit, the contrite heart. Seeking abundant mercy, let us confess our brokenness before God.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION Psalm 51:1-12, 17
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
ACT OF PRAYER
Take a moment to reflect on what stands in the way of you living in full communion with God and with others. Write your response on a small piece of paper. While the music is being played, you are invited to burn the piece of paper as a prayer to God for help in overcoming the obstacles in your spiritual life.
SUNG RESPONSE Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God No. 423 (You are invited to meditate on the verses below.)
Create in me a clean heart, O God;
create in me a clean heart, O God;
create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence;
cast me not away from your presence;
cast me not away from your presence
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation;
restore to me the joy of your salvation;
restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with your free Spirit.
ASSURANCE OF GOD WITH US
According to God’s steadfast love, according to God’s abundant mercy, God does not pass judgment on us, the judgment we deserve. God creates in us clean hearts and gives a new and right spirit. In the grace of Jesus Christ, we return to God forgiven. Praise God for our salvation!
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
God, our helper, by your Holy Spirit, open our minds, that as the scriptures are read and your Word is proclaimed, we may be led into your truth and be taught your will, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
SCRIPTURE READING Isaiah 58:1-12 GOSPEL READING Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
SERMON Rev. Kathryn R. Mustaro A Clean Heart
OBSERVANCE OF THE LENTEN DISCIPLINE
We begin our Lenten observance by using the centuries-old symbol of ashes. By this we are reminded of our own frailty and mortality and are called to humility and penitence.
Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth. May these ashes be to us a sign of our mortality, that we may remember it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life. Amen.
Self-Imposition of Ashes (done together)
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. All make the sign of the cross in ashes on forehead of hand together.
Sung Response Ash Wednesday Comes and, Lord, We Hear No. 675
By Carolyn Winfrey Gillette TALLIS’ CANON (You are invited to hum or meditate on the verses below.)
Used with gracious permission during the pandemic.
Ash Wednesday comes, and Lord, we hear
The word for which our spirits yearn;
Amid this world's distress and fear,
We hear your loving call: "Return!"
"Return to me with all your heart"
With fasting, weeping, mourning, too.
O God, we seek a brand new start,
A new beginning here with you.
You call to us — the old, the young;
You summon nations strong and weak.
When we have drifted toward the wrong,
You call us back, your way to seek.
O God most merciful and kind,
Your love is not a prize we earn;
Yet in our life with you we find
The joy that comes when we return.
Almighty and everlasting God,
we enter this season of Lent in penitence and humility, aware of our own mortality and brokenness. Encourage us with your presence, we pray, that we may empty ourselves of whatever separates us from you and one another. Teach us to rely on no strength but yours, as we journey with Christ Jesus toward your kingdom. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication Psalm 116 Silence
Lord, our God,
make of us pilgrims throughout these forty days.
We pledge to walk in the light of your Word and by the power of your Spirit. Strengthen us in our commitment, we pray, that we may serve you and each other in the love of Christ, our Lord. Amen.
We are Sent
HYMN OF RESPONSE Restore in Us, O God No. 434 (You are invited to meditate on the verses below.)
Restore in us, O God,
the splendor of your love;
renew your image in our hearts,
and all our sins remove.
O Spirit, wake in us
the wonder of your power;
from fruitless fear unfurl our lives
like springtime bud and flower.
Bring us, O Christ, to share
the fullness of your joy;
baptize us in the risen life
that death cannot destroy.
Three-personed God, fulfill
the promise of your grace,
that we, when all our searching ends,
may see you face to face.
CHARGE & BENEDICTION
All depart in silence for silent prayer and reflection.
All songs not from The Presbyterian Hymnal are used by permission of CCLI #1124594