Feb 142018

Let us pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism.

It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.

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, that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

The ashes are imposed with the following words

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Psa. 51:1    Have 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!

Psa. 51:3    For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned

and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you may be justified in your words

and blameless in your judgment.

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

and in sin did my mother conceive me.

6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,

and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Psa. 51:7    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 broken rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins,

and blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from your presence,

and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psa. 51:13    Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

and sinners will return to you.

14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,

O God of my salvation,

and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.

15 O Lord, open my lips,

and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;

you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Litany of Penitence

The Celebrant and People together, all kneeling

Most holy and merciful Father:

We confess to you and to one another,

and to the whole communion of saints

in heaven and on earth,

that we have sinned by our own fault

in thought, word, and deed;

by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and

strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We

have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us.

We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved

your Holy Spirit.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

 We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the

pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation

of other people,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those

more fortunate than ourselves,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and

our dishonesty in daily life and work,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to

commend the faith that is in us,

We confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done:

for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our

indifference to injustice and cruelty,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our

neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those

who differ from us,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of

concern for those who come after us,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;

Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of your salvation,

That we may show forth your glory in the world.

 By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord,

Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desires not the death of sinners, but rather that they may turn from their wickedness and live, has given power and commandment to his ministers to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the absolution and remission of their sins. He pardons and absolves all those who truly repent, and with sincere hearts believe his holy Gospel.

Therefore we beseech him to grant us true repentance and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him which we do on this day, and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy, so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


  25 Responses to “Ash Wednesday”

  1. Love this. Thank you.

  2. Thank you, Paige…I love it too.

  3. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
    I wrote this in my wife’s Valentine card earlier this morning.

    To the rest of you – Happy vaLENTine Day 🙂

  4. Just think the fun we will have with Easter this year as it falls on April Fools Day.

  5. Thank you, Michael!

  6. Very nice and timely article.

  7. The Ash Wednesday liturgy is so deep. Have long been struck by the impatience of our lives and the anger at our own frustration. Those are like uncomfortable comfortable reminders (oh hello there, you again. Impatience? check. Anger at frustration? check check check.).

    In addition to the familiar ones, I’m struck by for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us and For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us.

  8. I’m curious about receiving ashes. I never was in a church that did it, so its new to me. Is it similar to receiving communion in that you need to be vetted ahead of time before you can receive them? I say this because the one and only time I went to a Lutheran church my wife and I were not allowed to receive communion. Are ashes treated the same way?

  9. Steve,

    I don’t believe so…I would hope not.

  10. Steve: no. (Lapsed episcopalian, here. Partook of ashes many years before I got confirmed in the ECUSA)

  11. I saw that you could get drive-thru ashes or ashes on the go in some places, so I figured its pretty open to anyone but then again I’ve seen people offering communion that way too.

  12. Nice… very nice.
    “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
    The old words still have power.

  13. Ashes are adiaphora, I.e., neither commanded nor forbidden in the Scriptures.

    They are a shelf discipline, good and right, if received for the right reason. Tonight at my church they will be offered for voluntary reception by any person. Ashes are an outward symbol of confession. It will be followed by absolution and the Lord’s Supper.

  14. My son is 10 today.

  15. happy birthday josh’s son. 🙂

  16. Jean

    “Ashes are an outward symbol of confession”

    I think you meant penance or penitence…

  17. Duane,

    Maybe it’s just me, but the ashes for me are a confession that I am in the flesh the progeny of the first Adam, marked for death.

  18. I respect the witness today, repentece… but i wonder how many passers by when seeing the symbol will see anything more than a religious person… praying they ask…

    Sad denigration of the Faith on a talk show this week observing that it is alright to talk to Jesus, if you wish, but if Jesus talks back, you should be licked up as you are off your rocker… pray that woman gets a word from on hjgh…

  19. A 10 year old boy! Happy Birthday and God keep, son of Josh the B. 🎆 🎂 🎇

  20. 🙂 Thanks dusty and Em. No ashes in the Baptist house, but Valentines day has been very special for the last ten years.

  21. #17 Jean

    Indeed. In the Middle Ages, it was often the practice before death to be laid upon sackcloth and to have ashes placed upon the person who was dying. They got what it was about…

  22. i don’t know why the comments are closed on Duane’s post so I will say this here.

    For decades I have voted for the Republican candidate because I was tricked into believing they were pro-life. I bet many of you were tricked, too. Yet this day they have blood on their hands. They have been bought by the NRA.

    Dear Senator Rubio, I am glad you prayed. Now that you have heard from God, please repent of being bribed by the NRA, get up off your knees and start working on a bill to change the nations gun laws. Thank you.

    Trump and the Repubs are not blaming the proliferation of guns, they are blaming the shooter’s neighbors, the students, and the teachers instead. They saw something but didn’t say something. Their fault.

    Our nation is being held hostage by people who claim the right to own war weapons as a hobby. Think about that: a hobby. They are collectors, they say, and like target practice.

    A sheriff from Broward County is on TV telling Americana how to spy on our neighbors. Do they usually bring home groceries bags full of milk and eggs and now they are spending time out at the gun range? Call the cops on them! See something, say something!

    Trump is wondering on Twitter why the shooter’s mental instability wasn’t reported. (It was, turns out.) Trump, your mental instability has been noted and reported widely for the past year so you can see that isn’t very effective.

    He’s blaming the victims, as usual. That’s what people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder do, they blame the victims. That NRA money might dry up if he blamed the proliferation of assault weapons.

    “People kill people, not guns.” What a fatuous phrase. All countries have people but only among the wealthy nations do you find the combination of lax gun laws and school killings after school killings after school killings. It’s not “people,” it’s not the mentally ill, it’s the availability of weapons of war that allows marginal people to go on rampages.

    Yeah Republicans, I’m looking at YOU. If you are as pro-life as you claim, put an end to this carnage. Refuse to vote for any candidate who gets NRA money and instead, vote for the candidate who wants sane gun laws. Otherwise, the blood is on your hands.

  23. Xenia,

    I closed the comments because I didn’t want to hear the standard tripe that always ends with the resolve to do nothing.
    I couldn’t take it while waiting for casualty numbers.
    I’ll open it up now.

  24. I thought that was the case and didn’t blame you at all, I was just explaining why I posted in this thread.

    I’ll copy and paste it over there.


  25. Thank you Xenia.

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