Thursday, February 23, 2017

An Ordo for Ash Wednesday

The First Eucharist of Lent With imposition of ashes
28 February 2017

The Gathering of the Community

The Greeting and Collect of the Day

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray.


O God,
you delight not in pomp and show
but in a humble and contrite heart.
Overturn our love of worldly possessions
and fix our hearts more firmly on you,
that, having nothing,
we may yet possess everything,
a treasure stored up for us in heaven,
made known to us in Jesus Christ
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

The Proclamation of the Word of God

The First Reading

A reading from the Prophet 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 righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgements, 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 Lord6 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.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Thanks be to God.

Psalm 103.7-18 (NRSV)

7 O Lord, you made your ways known to Moses *
            and your works to the children of Israel.
8 You are full of compassion and mercy, *
            slow to anger and of great kindness.
9 You will not always accuse us, *
            nor will you keep your anger for ever.
10 You have not dealt with us according to our sins, *
            nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, *
            so is your mercy great upon those who fear you.
12 As far as the east is from the west, *
            so far have you removed our sins from us.
13 As parents care for their children, *
            so do you, O Lord, care for those who fear you.
14 For you yourself know whereof we are made; *
            you remember that we are but dust.
15 Our days are like the grass; *
            we flourish like a flower of the field;
16 when the wind goes over it, it is gone, *
            and its place shall know it no more.
17 But your merciful goodness endures for ever on those who fear you, *
            and your righteousness on children’s children;
18 on those who keep the covenant *
            and remember the commandments and do them.

The Gospel
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew (6.1-6, 16-21).
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

            1 [Jesus said,] “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.”

The Gospel of Christ.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

The Homily

The Prayers of the Community

The Prayers

Dear friends in Christ, every year at the time of the Christian Passover
we celebrate our redemption through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration and to renew our life in the paschal mystery.

We begin this holy season by remembering our need for repentance,
and for the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We begin our journey to Easter with the sign of ashes, an ancient sign, speaking of the frailty and uncertainty of human life, and marking the penitence of the community as a whole.

I invite you therefore, in the name of the Lord, to observe a holy Lent by self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and alms-giving, and by reading and meditating on the word of God. 

For our incapacity to feel the sufferings of others,
and our tendency to live comfortably with injustice,
Holy One, forgive us.

For the self-righteousness that denies guilt,
and the self-interest that strangles compassion,
Holy One, forgive us.

For those who live their lives in careless unconcern,
who cry ‘Peace, peace,’, when there is no peace,
Holy One, forgive us.

For our failings in community,
our lack of understanding,
Holy One, forgive us.

For our lack of forgiveness, openness and sensitivity,
Holy One, forgive us.

For the times we were too eager to be better than others,
when we are too rushed to care,
when we are too tired to bother,
when we do not really listen,
when we are too quick to act from motives other than love,
Holy One, forgive us. [i]

Almighty God, from the dust of the earth you have created us. 
May these ashes be for us a sign of our mortality and penitence,
and a reminder that only by your gracious gift are we given eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen.

Those who wish to receive the sign of ashes come forward.

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

After the imposition of ashes the Presider says,

Almighty God have mercy on you,
forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ,
strengthen you in all goodness,
and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life.  Amen.

Jesus invites us to a way of celebration,
meeting and feasting with the humble and poor.
Let us walk this way with joy.

Jesus beckons us to a way of risk,
letting go of our security.
Let us walk this way with joy.

Jesus challenges us to listen to the voices
of those who have nothing to lose.
Let us walk this way with joy.

Jesus points us to a way of self-giving,
where power and status are overturned.
Let us walk this way with joy.

Jesus calls us to follow the way of the cross,
where despair is transformed by the promise of new life.
Let us walk this way with joy. [ii]

The Exchange of the Peace

The peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you.

The Holy Communion
The Prayer over the Gifts

Let us pray.

Artist of souls,
you sculpted a people for yourself
out of the rocks of the wilderness and fasting.
Help us to accept your invitation to prayer and simplicity,
that the discipline of these forty days
may sharpen our hunger for your feast of holy friendship,
and whet our thirst for the living water
you offer through Jesus Christ.  Amen.

The Thanksgiving at the Table

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right, our duty and our joy,
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful God,
through our Saviour Jesus Christ. 
You call your people to cleanse their hearts
and prepare with joy for the paschal feast,
that renewed in the gift of baptism,
we may come to the fullness of your grace. 
And so, with all the choirs of angels,
with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven,
we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy, mighty and merciful Lord,
heaven and earth are full of your glory. 
In great love you sent us Jesus, your Son,
who reached out to heal the sick and suffering,
who preached good news to the poor
and who, on the cross, opened his arms to all.

In the night in which he was betrayed,
our Lord Jesus took bread and gave thanks;
broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: 
Take and eat; this is my body given for you. 
Do this for the remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup,
gave thanks and gave it for all to drink, saying:
This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. 
Do this for the remembrance of me.

Remembering, therefore, his death, resurrection and ascension,
we await his coming in glory.

Pour out upon us the Spirit of your love, O Lord,
and unite the wills of all who share this heavenly food,
the body and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord;
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be all glory and honour, now and for ever.  Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, let us pray,
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever.  Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread

We break this bread,
communion in Christ’s body once broken.

Let your Church be the wheat
which bears its fruit in dying.
If we have died with him,
we shall live with him;
if we hold firm,
we shall reign with him.

The gifts of God for the people of God.
Thanks be to God.

The Communion

The Commissioning of the Community

The Prayer after Communion

Let us pray.

God of the wilderness and water,
your Son was baptized and tempted as we are.
Guide us through this season,
that we may not avoid struggle,
but open ourselves to blessing,
through the cleansing depths of repentance
and the heaven-rending words of the Spirit.  Amen.

Grant, most merciful Lord,
to your faithful people pardon and peace,
so that they may be cleansed from all their sins,
and serve you with a quiet mind;
through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Dismissal

Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

[i] Janet Morley, Bread of Tomorrow:  Prayers for the Church Year (1992), 72 alt.

[ii] Janet Morley, Bread of Tomorrow:  Prayers for the Church Year (1992), 78 alt.

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