Ash Wednesday

Pick-up Ashes From Central

Ashes are available for pick-up at Central February 8th-17th.

They will be located in a box outside of the main entrance.

Since the beginning of the church, Christians have observed the time leading up to Easter with great devotion. It became one of the greatest traditions of the church to prepare for these events through serious examination of our spiritual lives. The season of Lent is a time of penitence, discipline, and renewal. On Ash Wednesday we are reminded of our mortality, we confess our sins, and we experience forgiveness through Christ’s death and resurrection. The pandemic means our service will look different than other years, but the pandemic also affords us the opportunity to reflect with poignancy on our mortality. 

This resource is to help you reflect and begin your observance of the season of Lent, by yourself or with your family.  The “imposition of ashes” is a central part of the service. In Scripture, ashes serve both as a symbol of mortality and as a sign of mourning and repentance. There will be instructions for the imposition of ashes in a video below.

In our Ash Wednesday reflections, we remember that neither sin nor death is the final word: Christ has conquered death, and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Prepare for reflection by lighting a candle and observing 2 minutes of silence.

Ash Wednesday Reflection - Follow These Steps

READ ALOUD

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

TAKE ONE MINUTE OF SILENCE

RESPONSIVE PRAYER

Use the following prayer, individually or taking turns as a family, keeping in mind that the Central Community is actually praying it all together as a church (though perhaps at different times).:

Holy and Merciful God, we confess to you and to one another, 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, O God.

We have not listened 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, O God.

We confess to you, O God, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience in our lives,

We confess to you, O God.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways and our exploitation of other people,

We confess to you, O God.

Our anger at our own frustration and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves,

We confess to you, O God.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work,

We confess to you, O God.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to commend the faith that is in us,

We confess to you, O God.

Accept our repentance, O God, for the wrongs we have done.  For our neglect of human need and suffering and our indifference to injustice and cruelty, 

Accept our repentance, O God.

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, O God.

Grant to us your great mercy and forgiveness, for we pray in Christ’s name, Amen.

READ

Joel 2:1-17

1 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. 

2 Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand—a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains, a large and mighty army comes, such as never was in ancient times nor ever will be in ages to come.

Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste—nothing escapes them.
They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry.

With a noise like that of chariots they leap over the mountaintops, like a crackling fire consuming stubble, like a mighty army drawn up for battle.

At the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale.
They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course.
They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead. They plunge through defenses without breaking ranks.
They rush upon the city; they run along the wall. They climb into the houses; like thieves they enter through the windows.

10 Before them the earth shakes, the heavens tremble, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.
11 The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty is the army that obeys his command.
The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?

Rend Your Heart

12 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing—grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly.
16 Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.

17 Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

WATCH

THE IMPOSITION OF ASHES 

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.” Genesis 3:19

REFLECTION

Discuss these questions with your family, or take time to reflect and journal.

1) How has the pandemic made you think about your own mortality?

2) What about the passage from Joel stands out to you? Does it give you hope?

3) How might you respond to the invitation to “return to God” during this season of Lent?

CLOSING PRAYER (in unison)

God of compassion, through your Son Jesus Christ you reconciled your people to yourself.  Following his example of prayer and fasting, may we obey you with willing hearts and serve one another in holy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

BENEDICTION: 1Thessalonians 5:23

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord.  The One who calls is faithful, and he will do it.”

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