Ash Wednesday: 06 Mar 2019 – Isaiah 57:15-21, Mark 2:13-22 ~ healer of sin-sick souls

Ash Wednesday

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (Collect for Ash Wednesday)

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing that you have made, and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create in me a new spirit and contrite heart, that I – worthily lamenting my sins and acknowledging my wretchedness – may obtain of you – the God of all mercy – perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ my Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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First Reading – Isaiah 57:15-21 (NLT)

The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this:

“I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. For I will not fight against you forever; I will not always be angry.

“If I were, all people would pass away—all the souls I have made. I was angry, so I punished these greedy people. I withdrew from them, but they kept going on their own stubborn way.

“I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn, bringing words of praise to their lips. May they have abundant peace, both near and far,” says the Lord, who heals them.

“But those who still reject me are like the restless sea, which is never still but continually churns up mud and dirt. There is no peace for the wicked,” says my God.
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Second Reading – Mark 2:13-22(NLT)

Jesus Calls Levi (Matthew)

Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him.

Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”

When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

A Discussion about Fasting

Once when John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, some people came to Jesus and asked, “Why don’t your disciples fast like John’s disciples and the Pharisees do?”

Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.

“Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”
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Prayer of Confession:

Most merciful God, we confess that we have not loved as You have called us to love. We have been impatient and unkind. We have been jealous, boastful and proud. We have responded rudely to others and often lived for ourselves alone. Our anger has come quickly while our desire for the best for others has been hard to find. We are truly sorry, and we humbly repent. In Your mercy forgive what we have been, help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be: that we may love as You first loved us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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“Physician of My Sin-Sick Soul” (John Newton) – Metropolitan Tabernacle, London

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Ash Wednesday: 14 Feb – Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 ~ on giving, prayer and fasting

Ash Wednesday

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Opening Prayer

Lord Jesus, send Your Spirit to open my heart and mind to all the Father has for me through the reading of the Scriptures. Help me to recognize Your presence in the disturbing events surrounding me. And reveal to me the way of the cross as my source of life and of resurrection. Quiet my heart that I may experience the power of Your resurrection and bear witness to Your living presence here around me. I ask this of You, Jesus, who revealed the Father and sent Your Spirit. Amen.
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Gospel Reading: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 (NLT)

+ on giving – “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

+ on prayer – “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
_____

+ on fasting – “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
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Prayers of Petition:

Heavenly Father: Pour out Your Spirit on me that I may have the heart, mind and strength of Jesus, especially during this season of Lent.

+ Give me Your heart, that I may respond with compassion and generosity to the needy people around me….
Lord, lead me to those in need.

+ Give me Your mind, that in the quiet of Your presence I may change the way I think about the world around me….
Lord, show me where I’m wrong.

+ Give me Your strength, that I may become more like You through the small sacrifices I make during this season….
Lord, make me a cheerful witness.

Heavenly Father: You know my heart and everything about me. Use this season to make me more like Your Son, Jesus Christ; that will be reward enough. I ask this in His name. Amen
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“More Like Jesus Would I Be” – Phoebe and Albert Chen (William H. Doane / Fanny Crosby)


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Closing

Lord God, thank You for Your Word that has enabled me to better understand Your will. May Your Spirit enlighten my actions and grant me the strength to practice what Your Word has revealed. I ask this through my Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
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+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Ash Wednesday: 10 February – Joel 2:12-13; Deuteronomy 7:6-9 ~ tear your hearts

Ash Wednesday

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Opening Sentence

“Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” (Joel 2:12-13)

ash-wednesday

Morning Reading: Deuteronomy 7:6-9 (NLT)

You are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.

The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the Lord rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.

Morning Prayer

Thank you, Lord God, for this Lenten season of grace. Cleanse my heart and strengthen me in love through the power of your Holy Spirit at work in me.

+ Father God, your word is life – may my life be nourished and sustained by every word you speak.
+ Christ Jesus, you have born my sin and shown me the way of love – teach me to follow you in the great and small events of my life.
+ Holy Spirit, you live in me even now – give me a spirit of self-denial and move me to help those around me in their need.

Walk with me, Lord God, during this Lenten season as I confront the passions and desires of my sinful nature and nail them, once again, to the Cross of Christ. Holy Spirit, arm me for this season of spiritual warfare that I may follow your leading in every part of my life. Through my Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

“Walk with Me” – Jesus Culture

Blessing

“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Ash Wednesday: 18 Feb – Jl 2:12-18 ; 2 Cor 5:20—6:2; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18 ~ Come back to God!

Ash Wednesday

ash wednesday cross

Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting, is the first day of Lent in Western Christianity. It occurs 40 days, excluding Sundays, before Easter. The Gospels tell us that Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert where he endured temptation by Satan. Lent originated as a mirroring of this – fasting 40 days as preparation for Easter.

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of blessing ashes made from palm branches blessed on the previous year’s Palm Sunday, and placing them on the heads of participants to the accompaniment of the words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentence and prayer:

My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready.
_____

Merciful and compassionate God: cleanse my heart and strengthen me in love through the Holy Spirit. Lord, Your word is life; may my life be nourished and sustained by every word You speak. In the life of Jesus You have shown me the way of love; teach me to follow this way in the great and small events of life. Grant me a spirit of self-denial, and move me to help my brothers and sisters in their need. Let me bear witness to the death of Your Son, for in His death You have brought me to life. Give me, Lord, your Holy Spirit.
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A Reading from the Old Testament: Joel 2:12-18 (NLT)

That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.”

Jewish prayer

Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine to the Lord your God as before.

Blow the ram’s horn in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Gather all the people — the elders, the children, and even the babies. Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her private room. Let the priests, who minister in the Lord’s presence, stand and weep between the entry room to the Temple and the altar.

Let them pray, “Spare your people, Lord! Don’t let your special possession become an object of mockery. Don’t let them become a joke for unbelieving foreigners who say, ‘Has the God of Israel left them?’”

Then the Lord will pity his people and jealously guard the honor of his land.
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A Reading from the Letters: 2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2 (NLT)

So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.”

Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
__________

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (Psalm 95:8)
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A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 (NLT)

Kori Dirks, Kolton Dirks

“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do — blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
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Canticle

Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.

Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Blessing:

May the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Ash Wednesday: Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 ~ Father, forgive me

Ash Wednesday

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening prayer:

Today begins the season of Lent – a journey of reflection and repentance that will bring us to the celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter time.
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Gracious and merciful God, You look with love upon a sinful people and desire only our return to You. I beg of you the grace to live this holy season, to persevere in prayer, self-denial, and almsgiving. Through the disciplines of Lent, purify my heart of all pretension, bring me back to You, and make the whole Church ready to celebrate the mysteries of Easter.

Grant this through Christ, our liberator from sin, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, holy and mighty God for ever and ever. Amen.

A Reading from the Old Testament: Joel 2:12-18 (NLT)

Kori Dirks, Kolton DirksThe Lord says,

“Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.”

Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine to the Lord your God as before.

Blow the ram’s horn in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Gather all the people — the elders, the children, and even the babies. Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her private room. Let the priests, who minister in the Lord’s presence, stand and weep between the entry room to the Temple and the altar.

Let them pray, “Spare your people, Lord! Don’t let your special possession become an object of mockery. Don’t let them become a joke for unbelieving foreigners who say, ‘Has the God of Israel left them?’”

Then the Lord will pity his people and jealously guard the honor of his land.

A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17 (NLT)

For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner — yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there.
__________

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you.
__________

Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
__________

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
__________

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A Reading from the Letters: 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2 (NLT)

So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.”

Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.

A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 (NLT)

“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do — blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”
__________

“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

Intercessions:

Our God is full of mercy and compassion – Lord help us:

+ That God’s people scattered throughout the world – particularly those who are signed with ashes today – may turn back to God during this Lenten season…. Lord, hear my prayer.
+ That those who have grown lukewarm, or drifted far away, may return to God and find new enthusiasm in their faith…. Lord, hear my prayer.
+ That people in need throughout the world may benefit from our Lenten sacrifices of prayer, of self, of generosity…. Lord, hear my prayer.
+ That, during this Lenten season, we may learn to set our own interests aside and work for the good of others…. Lord, hear my prayer.

God of mercy and compassion, you cleanse us and give us your help: hear my prayers made in faith, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn: God of Mercy and Compassion

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen
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LENT (wikipedia) is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Day.

The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial – for the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the tradition and events of the New Testament beginning on Friday of Sorrows, further climaxing on Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday, which ultimately culminates in the joyful celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The English word “Lent” was adopted for the season in the middle ages and simply referred, at that time, to the coming of spring with its lengthening days.