Worship Guide - Ash Wednesday

Worship Guide

February 14, 2024

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 forever.


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.


All: 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: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17


1 Blow the trumpet in Zion;

sound the alarm on my holy mountain!

Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,

for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near—

2      a day of darkness and gloom,

a day of clouds and thick darkness!

Like blackness spread upon the mountains

a great and powerful army comes;

their like has never been from of old,

nor will be again after them

in ages to come.

12     Yet even now, says the Lord,

return to me with all your heart,

with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

13     rend your hearts and not your clothing.

Return to the Lord, your God,

for he is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,

and relents from punishing.

14     Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,

and leave a blessing behind him,

a grain offering and a drink offering

for the Lord, your God?

15     Blow the trumpet in Zion;

sanctify a fast;

call a solemn assembly;

16     gather the people.

Sanctify the congregation;

assemble the aged;

gather the children,

even infants at the breast.

Let the bridegroom leave his room,

and the bride her canopy.

17     Between the vestibule and the altar

let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.

Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord,

and do not make your heritage a mockery,

a byword among the nations.

Why should it be said among the peoples,

‘Where is their God?’ ”


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

People:    Thanks be to God!


Hymn: Have Thine Own Way Lord”  


Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!

Thou art the potter, I am the clay.

Mold me and make me after thy will,

while I am waiting, yielded and still.


Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!

Search me and try me, Savior, today!

Wash me just now, Lord, wash me just now,

as in thy presence humbly I bow.


Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!

Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!

Power, all power, surely is thine!

Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.


Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!

Hold o’er my being absolute sway!

Fill with thy Spirit ’till all shall see

Christ only, always, living in me.


Sermon: “There Your Heart Will Be” Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21


1 “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5 “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for       yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


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.