Ash Wednesday Feb 14 2018

Almighty and everlasting God,

you hate nothing that you have made

and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:

create and make in us new and contrite hearts

that we, worthily lamenting our sins

and acknowledging our wretchedness,

may receive from you, the God of all mercy,

perfect remission and forgiveness;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

or

Holy God,

our lives are laid open before you:

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.

Readings

Joel 2.1-2, 12-17

2

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?” ’

This is the word of the Lord.

All Thanks be to God.

or Isaiah 58.1-12

58

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 practised 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 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 rearguard.

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.

This is the word of the Lord.

All Thanks be to God.

Psalm 51.1-18

1  Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness; •

according to the abundance of your compassion

blot out my offences.

2  Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness •

and cleanse me from my sin.

3  For I acknowledge my faults •

and my sin is ever before me.

4  Against you only have I sinned •

and done what is evil in your sight,

5  So that you are justified in your sentence •

and righteous in your judgement.

6  I have been wicked even from my birth, •

a sinner when my mother conceived me.

7  Behold, you desire truth deep within me •

and shall make me understand wisdom

in the depths of my heart.

8  Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; •

wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

9  Make me hear of joy and gladness, •

that the bones you have broken may rejoice.

10  Turn your face from my sins •

and blot out all my misdeeds.

11  Make me a clean heart, O God, •

and renew a right spirit within me.

12  Cast me not away from your presence •

and take not your holy spirit from me.

13  Give me again the joy of your salvation •

and sustain me with your gracious spirit;

14  Then shall I teach your ways to the wicked •

and sinners shall return to you.

15  Deliver me from my guilt, O God,

the God of my salvation, •

and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness.

16  O Lord, open my lips •

and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

17  For you desire no sacrifice, else I would give it; •

you take no delight in burnt offerings.

18  The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; •

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

2 Corinthians 5.20b-6.10

20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

6

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For he says,

‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you,

and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’

See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

This is the word of the Lord.

All

Thanks be to God.

Gospel Reading

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

All

Glory to you, O Lord.

Matthew 6.1-6, 16-21

6

‘Beware of practising 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. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so 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. 6But 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. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so 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; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

AllPraise to you, O Christ.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

AllGlory to you, O Lord.

or John 8.1-11

8

1while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ 6They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ 8And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ 11She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

AllPraise to you, O Christ.

Post Communion

Almighty God,

you have given your only Son to be for us

both a sacrifice for sin

and also an example of godly life:

give us grace

that we may always most thankfully receive

these his inestimable gifts,

and also daily endeavour to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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