Ash Wednesday emphasizes a dual encounter:
We confront our own mortality & confess our sin before God within the community of faith.
The form and content of the service focus on the dual themes of sin and death in the light of God's redeeming love in Jesus Christ.
The use of ashes as a sign of mortality and repentance has a long history in Jewish and Christian worship, and the Imposition of Ashes can be a powerful nonverbal and experiential way of participating in the call to repentance and reconciliation.
Ash Wednesday is the day when we gather to begin our 40 day retreat called Lent.
Every year we gather at church on this day to remind ourselves that we are not eternal. Yet, this year, again we are finding ways to worship in new ways.
Because of this, many of us will find ourselves in our homes unsure how we might mark the beginning of Lent.
To Get Started:
If you picked up ashes from the church, these are burned from last years palms from Palm Sunday.
If you didn’t, you may make your own ashes. Write a particular sin or unjust characteristic of yourself and burn the paper to be used as your ashes.
DO NOT MIX ASHES WITH WATER: this makes a caustic form of lye. Do add a little bit of olive oil.
At a minimum, you may simply use olive oil to trace a cross on your forehead.
There are four parts to this at-home liturgy: Gather, Word, Respond, Send.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
And also with you.
Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins.
God’s mercy endures for ever and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
O God, maker of everything and judge of all that you have made from the dust of the earth you have formed us and from the dust of death you would raise us up. By the redemptive power of the cross, create in us clean hearts and put within us a new spirit, that we may repent of our sins and lead lives worthy of your calling.
Holy God, our lives are laid open before you: as we hear your word tonight, rescue us from the chaos of sin, and through the death of your Son bring us healing and make us whole in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
But the word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.
Trace a cross on your forehead, lips, and heart.
Take a bit of the ashes and put the sign of the cross on one another’s, or on your own forehead.
WE ENTER INTO A HOLY SILENCE
WE ARE INVITED TO OBSERVE A LENTEN DISCIPLINE
The early Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church that before the Easter celebration there should be a forty-day season of spiritual preparation.
During this season converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when persons who had committed serious sins and had separated sins and had separated themselves from the community of faith were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness and restored to participation in the life of the Church.
In this way the whole congregation was reminded of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the need we all have to renew our faith.
We invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to observe a holy Lent: by self- examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word.
This year at FRPC, during this time of COVID and isolation. You are encouraged and invited to join our 40 letters in 40 days. The church has prepared notecards and envelopes for you to pick up at your convenience. The goal is to send one letter a day – to anyone: friends, family, colleagues, government officials, first responders… as a sign of encouragement and care.
In addition, during Lent, the sermon series will be focusing on Paul’s letters to the churches in the New Testament, in this way, we can see the importance of communication and the impact it has with a personal and caring letter.
These letters do not need to be lengthy, simply an “I’m thinking of you” goes a long way.
WE CONFESS OUR SIN AND REMEMBER GOD’S PARDON
PEACE OF CHRIST
Let us offer one another signs of reconciliation and love.
May the peace of Christ be with you… and also with you.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
and Forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For this the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever
SENT OUT WITH A BLESSING
May the Lord Almighty grant us a restful night, and in the end, peace.