Worship Guide - Ash Wednesday

Worship Guide

February 22, 2023

Ash Wednesday


Creating Disciples of Jesus who Transform the World





Minister: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

People:  And also with you!

Minister: Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins.

People:   God’s mercy endures for ever.


Call to Worship:

Minister: Why have we gathered today?

People: We gather to confess our sins and bring a sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart to God, who forgives us and frees us for joyful obedience. Today, we join one another and Christ on the road to the cross and commit ourselves to the Lenten   journey ahead of us. May we be faithful to keeping a Lenten fast of justice, charity, and flourishing      before God, self, and neighbor.


Prayer of Confession:


Creator God, you fashioned us out of dust, breathing your Spirit into us, so we might sing your praise.


But we have denounced your gift of life in order to be our own gods, clinging to death–dealing idols of our making.


We have denied our creaturely status, seeking to lord it over those we label “less-than.”


We squelch all who are different through ignoring, belittling, murdering, and bombing.


We believe survival-of-the-fittest lies, discounting the weak, and profiting by others’ pain.


Not trusting your providence, we stop our ears to the cries of those in need because we’re afraid we won’t have enough.


We have been unfaithful stewards, O Lord.


We live in a state of sin among a people of sin.


Save for your grace, we perish.


Remember our making, Creator God; remember we are dust.


Have mercy on us according to your loving kindness. Breathe new life into us once more, so we might be the people you created us to be. Restore unto us the joy of your salvation that we might do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, Amen.


Hymn: Sweet Hour of Prayer”


Sweet hour of prayer!

sweet hour of prayer!

That calls me from a world of care,

and bids me at my Father’s throne

make all my wants and wishes known.

In seasons of distress and grief,

my soul has often found relief,

and oft escaped the tempter’s snare,

by thy return, sweet hour of prayer!


Sweet hour of prayer!

sweet hour of prayer!

The joys I feel, the bliss I share,

of those whose anxious spirits burn

with strong desires for thy return!

With such I hasten to the place

where God my Savior shows His face,

and gladly take my station there,

and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!


Sweet hour of prayer!

sweet hour of prayer!

Thy wings shall my petition bear

to him whose truth and faithfulness

engage the waiting soul to bless.

And since he bids me seek his face,

believe his Word and trust his grace,

I’ll cast on him my every care,

and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!


*Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 58:1-12


1 Shout out, do not hold back!

Lift up your voice like a trumpet!

Announce to my people their rebellion,

to the house of Jacob their sins.

2      Yet day after day they seek me

and delight to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that practiced


and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;

they ask of me righteous judgments,

they delight to draw near to God.

3      “Why do we fast, but you do not see?

Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”

Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,

and oppress all your workers.

4      Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight

and to strike with a wicked fist.

Such fasting as you do today

will not make your voice heard on high.

5      Is such the fast that I choose,

a day to humble oneself?

Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,

and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?

Will you call this a fast,

a day acceptable to the Lord?

6      Is not this the fast that I choose:

to loose the bonds of injustice,

to undo the thongs of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

and to break every yoke?

7      Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,

and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover them,

and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

8      Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,

and your healing shall spring up quickly;

your vindicator shall go before you,

the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

9      Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;

you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

If you remove the yoke from among you,

the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,

10     if you offer your food to the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,

then your light shall rise in the darkness

and your gloom be like the noonday.

11     The Lord will guide you continually,

and satisfy your needs in parched places,

and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden,

like a spring of water,

whose waters never fail.

12     Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;

you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

you shall be called the repairer of the breach,

the restorer of streets to live in.


Leader:   This is the Word of God, for the People of God

People:  Thanks be to God!


Hymn: Open Our Eyes Lord”


Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus,

to reach out and touch him,

and say that we love him.

Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen.

Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus.


Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus,

to reach out and touch him,

and say that we love him.

Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen.

Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus.




Sermon: “The Fast We Choose”  Psalm 51:1-17


1Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

4 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.

5 Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.

6 You desire truth in the inward being;  therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.

17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.


Invitation to Observance of

Lenten Discipline


Thanksgiving Over The Ashes:


Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth. Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, so that we may remember that only by your gracious gift are we given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen


Imposition of Ashes:


Silent Prayer of Confession


May the almighty and merciful God, who desires not the death of a sinner but that we turn from wickedness and live, accept your repentance, forgive your sins, and restore you by the Holy Spirit to newness of life.  Amen.


*The Peace: “The Peace of Christ be with you”


Prayer of Thanksgiving:


All things come from you, O God, and with praise and thanksgiving we return to you what is yours. You created all that is, and with love formed us in your image. When our love failed, your love remained steadfast. You gave your only Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior, that we might have abundant and eternal life. All that we are, and all that we have, is a trust from you. And so, in gratitude for all that you have done, we offer you ourselves, and all that we have, in union with Christ’s offering for us. By your Holy Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, through Jesus Christ our Lord who taught us to pray.


The Lord’s Prayer


*Hymn: “Take Time to Be Holy”


Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;

abide in him always, and feed on his Word.

Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,

forgetting in nothing his blessing to seek.


Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;

spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.

By looking to Jesus, like him thou shalt be;

thy friends in thy conduct his likeness shall see.


Take time to be holy, let him be thy Guide;

and run not before him, whatever betide.

In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,

and, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.


Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,

each thought and each motive beneath his control.

Thus led by his spirit to fountains of love,

thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.




Minister: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ go with you.

People: And also with you.

Minister: Why are we sent today?

People: We go to confess God’s love to a broken and hurting world. As we wear the ashes of penitence on our bodies, so we carry the reconciling love of God we have received to a world sorely in need of justice, abundance, and flourishing. Amen.


Going Forth in Silence