Worship at Home for Ash Wednesday 2021

Meditation and Prayer for Ash Wednesday

Video Meditation by Chuck Bell, used with permission.

Call to Turning Toward God (Psalm 51)

One: According to your unfailing love;
             According to your great compassion,

All:      Have mercy on me, O God.

One: Cleanse us from our sin and guilt.
             Turn our hearts and minds from wrongdoing.
             And hurting others and ourselves.
All:     Forgive us for all that we have done.

One:   Teach us the power of your saving grace.
            May we offer hearts filled with love to you.
All:     Turn our hearts and minds to you, O God.

Moment of Silence

Assurance of God’s Love and Forgiveness

Passing of the Peace

Hymn Amazing Grace      Small Church Music #1

1 Amazing grace (how sweet the sound)
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.

2 'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed!

Words: John Newton (1779), Tune: NEW BRITAIN Public Domain

Scriptures    2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
                        Matthew 6:16–21

Click Here to Listen to the Meditiation

Meditation     Turning Toward God        

To read the list of afflictions and persecutions suffered by Paul, it is amazing that anyone would choose to be a follower of Jesus. What would inspire a well-educated person such as Paul to give up position, power and prestige to travel the Roman Empire in order to inspire others to become Christians?

Paul recognized that in turning toward Jesus that he was gaining more than he had lost. He was gaining salvation from the false promises of this world. He was receiving the true grace of God which offers so much more. Paul was filled with so much love that he was willing to travel the Roman Empire to share this good news with many.

Jesus’ love fills empty holes in hearts that cannot be filled by power, money, and other false gods of this world. Yes, we do need enough money to buy a safe place to live, enough food to eat and medical care. It is when we pursue these goals at the expense of our relationship with God that troubles of the soul begin to haunt us. Those troubles of fear for ourselves and the future. Feelings of not being enough and more. This is why we need to turn our hearts and minds toward Jesus who eases these troubled burdens of our hearts.

Loving relationship with our God can fill our hearts with peace, give us courage when life presents challenges and offers up hope during difficult times. Relationship requires spending time with those we love. Relationship with God is no different. This Lent, take time to Listen to God and to let go of earthly treasure.

In life we store up treasures. Some of these treasures can be held in our hands, counted and measured. Other treasurers are stored in our hearts, minds and souls. Jesus encourages us not to concern ourselves with worldly treasures which do not last, but with heavenly ones that do.

This Lent we will be holding a piece of sack cloth which can be worn as a sign of repentance. Repentance can be explained as turning our hearts toward God. Sack cloth can be used to hold earthly treasures, but the sack cloth bookmark has been cut away from a larger piece of cloth that could have been made into a bag for earthly treasure. The act of cutting up the cloth symbolizes letting this earthly treasure go and letting the treasurers of heaven fill us.

(If you need a piece of sack cloth, please fill out the contact form and we will send you one.)

Your piece of sack cloth is to be used to keep a place in your Bible so that you can return to reading the scriptures each day. Or you may wish to find a devotional guide and place your bookmark there to remind you of the wisdom of prayer each day. By reminding ourselves to pray and to study we will be turning our hearts and minds toward God and opening ourselves up to be filled with heavenly treasures.

Offering of Gifts and Selves

  • Hold your piece of sackcloth.
  • You may also wish to mark yourselves with dirt, ashes, marker or eyeliner in the shape of a cross. (If using ashes, DO NOT MIX THE ASHES WITH WATER AS THIS MAKES LYE WHICH WILL CREATE A CHEMICAL BURN.)

Prayer of Dedication: Loving and forgiving God, we turn our hearts toward you today. We hold these pieces of sackcloth in our hands as a sign of repentance and a desire to walk in the way of our Savior Jesus. May these pieces of cloth serve as a reminder this Lent that we seek you with our whole hearts. Amen.

Time of Prayer

Prayer: God surround us with your love. Help us to let go of the rusty and moth-eaten earthly treasures that consume our time and open us up to receiving your heavenly wisdom and to treasure it.

As we prepare our hearts and minds for Communion. Remind us of the sacrifice which Jesus made for us on the cross and the mystery of our faith that
            Christ has died, Christ has risen, and that Christ will come again.
May the Holy Spirit bless those who pray today, and the bread and juice that make up the holy meal. May we know and share the love of Christ with the world.

As a sign of Jesus sacrificial gift of love, many will mark themselves with the sign of the cross. Bless these crosses of, marker, eyeliner and more. May these crosses symbols serve as true signs of turning toward God this Lent. Amen.

Let us now take a moment in silence to listen to God and to share the deepest feelings of our hearts.

Silent Prayer           

Prayer of Our Savior          Matthew 6:9-13

Communion Hymn            “Let Us Break Bread Together”  Video

Communion

  • Gather some juice and bread. Ask God to bless them.
  • Read Matthew 26:17-30
  • Eat your bread and drink your juice.
  • Give thanks to God!

Closing Hymn          “Rock of Ages”        Small Church Music ‎#112

1 Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.

2 Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law's demands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

Words:    Augustus Toplady    Tune:      Richard Redhead (1853), Public Domain

Benediction: Turn your hearts toward God and listen for God’s word in your life. May God fill you with good things! Amen.

 

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