A liturgy for Ash Wednesday


Brothers and sisters in Christ, since early days Christians have observed with great devotion the time of our Lord’s passion and resurrection and prepared for this by a season of penitence and fasting.

By carefully keeping these days, Christians take to heart the call to serious repentance and the joyful assurance of full forgiveness announced in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and so grow in faith and in devotion to our Lord.

I invite you, therefore, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy word.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of God and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the Gospel.” He also said: “I have come that you might have life, and have that abundantly.”

We come before God this night, Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, to hear God’s word, to confess our sins, and to ask God to strengthen us in our faith that we might live more holy lives.

Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.
Amen

Let us pray for grace to keep Lent faithfully.
Silence is kept.

Let us Pray
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent and trusting in Christ. Create and make in us new and humble hearts, that we, grieving our sins and being honest about our brokenness, may receive from you, the God of all mercy, perfect cleansing and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Sing: Lord, I come before your throne of Grace

Talk: making the most of Lent

Sing: Purify my heart, let me be as gold

Let us now call to mind our ingrained patterns of sin and rebellious habits which do damage to our own lives, to the lives of those around us and which offend the majesty and glory of the one true and living God, the blessed Holy Trinity.

God the Father,
Have mercy upon us.
God the Son,
Have mercy upon us.
God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy upon us.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity,
Have mercy upon us.

From all evil and naughtiness;
from pride, vanity, and hypocrisy;
from envy, hatred, and spite;
and from all evil intensions,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From laziness, worldliness
and the love of money;
from a cold and stony heart
and the neglect for your word and your laws,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From the sins of body and mind;
from the lies of the world,
the flesh and the devil,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From self-centredness
And the love and worship of created things.
Good Lord, deliver us.

In all times of sorrow;
in all times of joy;
in the hour of death,
and at the day of judgement,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of your holy incarnation;
by your birth, childhood and obedience;
by your baptism, fasting and temptation,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By your ministry in Word and Spirit;
by your mighty acts of power;
and by your preaching of the kingdom,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By your agony and trial;
by your cross and passion;
and by your precious death and burial,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By your mighty resurrection;
by your glorious ascension;
and by your sending of the Holy Spirit,
Good Lord, deliver us.

Give us all true repentance;
forgive us our accidental and our deliberate sins;
and grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit
to amend our lives according to your holy word
to your praise and glory.

Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.
Silence is kept.

Make our hearts clean, O God;
And renew a right spirit within us.

Father eternal, giver of light and grace,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour,
in thought, and word and deed,
by accident and on purpose.

We have wounded your love,
and marred your image in us.
We are sorry and ashamed,
and repent of all our sins.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past;
and lead us out from darkness
to walk as children of light.
Amen.

Absolution
The Lord is slow to anger
and abounding in steadfast love.
In his grace, he freely forgives all
who repent of sin
and believe in his beloved Son
our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Amen

Application of Ashes
Dear friends in Christ,
I invite you to receive these ashes
as a sign of the spirit of penitence with which we shall keep this season of Lent.

God our Father,
you create us from the dust of the earth:
grant that these ashes may be for us
by faith in your Son Jesus Christ
a sign of our penitence
and a symbol of our mortality;
for it is by your grace alone
that we receive eternal life
in Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Amen.

Come to the rail to receive your ashing
Remember that you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.
Turn away from sin
and be faithful to Christ your Saviour.

Sing: Grace unmeasured

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace – both now and evermore – through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen

Let us go in peace and in penitence
to overcome the temptations of
the world, the flesh and the devil,
and to keep close to Christ during Lent
through study, meditation, prayer and fasting.
Amen

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