A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.

Gathering

We gather in silence.

Psalm 51:1–17

Greeting

Prayer of the Day

Word

JOEL 2:1-2, 12-17

2 CORINTHIANS 5:20b—6:10

MATTHEW 6:1-6, 16-21

HOMILY                 Pastor Chris Halverson

Ash Wednesday

So here we are… another Lent, so late this year that we were lulled into a false sense of security and it managed to sneak up on us.

Here we are—on the precipice, ready to follow Jesus down the mountain and head to Jerusalem.

Here we are—shaping our lives into a unique holy time through a 40 day focus on Alms, Fasting and Prayer.
Using ELCA World hunger resources for Self-examination and Repentance, Prayer and Fasting, Works of Love and Sacrificial Giving.
Gathering together on Wednesday to work out the actual nuts and bolts process of forgiving someone and some of us helping each other along the way as prayer partners.
Many of us searching our own souls and finding particular areas in our life that need 40 days to clear out and re-create so that it more closely clings to the Gospel and to Jesus Christ our Lord.

In the face of all these doings, let me say this as plainly as I can: these efforts are to be taken seriously, seriously enough to fail at them, but they are not to be taken seriously enough to cause other people to fail. Jesus says our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees and the Scribes, but that is not a call to self-righteousness or self-satisfaction.

          We are to take up our Lenten Disciplines in such a way that we remain disciples of Christ.

Prayer

          We are to take up our Lenten Disciplines in such a way that we remain disciples of Christ.

Beloved in Christ, give alms, for doing so will connect you to the real and ongoing needs of the world. Give of your time and your possessions, in so doing you will find that, despite the stories of our society and the voices in our heads, there will be enough—in God’s good creation there is enough!

Beloved in Christ, do not give of your time and your talent in such a way that you may brag of your busyness or lord your generosity over another person, being their patron. Doing so will breed resentment and you will not be listened to.

 

Beloved in Christ, fast, for in so doing you will remember what sustains you—that everything nourishing for the body is a gift from God. You will become aware of the body which God has given you. You will also be reminded that many go to bed hungry, and you will hunger for their fullness.

Beloved in Christ, do not fast for show or to become proud of your control over your body, for it is not your own.

 

Beloved in Christ, pray regularly. Pray for our future and for our greatest needs—they need to be named and known, or we will go quietly and unthinkingly into a future that is not only frightening, but uncaring. For that matter, there is a lot of you inside of you, its good to get it out in the open, express it to God, God’s shoulders are big enough to bear it.

Beloved in Christ, do not pray in order to manipulate or to gossip, do not pray breathless prayers in the hopes that they take your neighbor’s breath away. Doing so mocks God and dishonors your neighbor.

 

Beloved in Christ, Seek repentance and forgiveness, your actions and your inner being are worth taking seriously. So is your neighbors.

Beloved in Christ, do not seek repentance and forgiveness for show, or to stir up controversy, only do so because the image of God is found in the mirror and right next to you.

 

Dearest Christian friends, recognize the weight of taking on a Lenten discipline. It is as heavy as Joel’s religious response to a plague of locusts and the famine that followed, it is as Paul writes becoming reconciled to God.

Recognize too the goal of such a discipline, you are being shaped into the Image of Christ, not into a hypocrite.

We are to take up our Lenten Disciplines in such a way that we remain disciples of Christ.

Amen.

Hymn of the Day         “Out of the Depths I Cry to You”        red book # 600

INVITATION TO LENT

“O Lord, throughout These Forty Days”               red book # 319

Confession of Sin        

Imposition of Ashes   

“Lord Jesus, Think on Me”              red book # 599

Prayers of Intercession                 

Meal

Offering

OFFERTORY ANTHEM           “A Lenten Prayer”

Great thanksgiving

LORD’S PRAYER       

COMMUNION SONGS            “Lamb of God”

Also, red book # 608

Sending

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Blessing

SENDING SONG            “Bless Now, O God, the Journey”           red book # 326

DISMISSAL

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