Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Lectionary Readings for WEDNESDAY, March 6, 2019 - Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

The Lectionary Readings
WEDNESDAY, March 6, 2019
Ash Wednesday
(Revised Common Lectionary Year C)

Opening Prayer

As we gather here in the harbor of your safety we thank you for fellowship and family.

We ask that you will strengthen us, restore us and inspire us with your love. Lord, would fill us with your peace so that as we journey onwards we would pour out your love and grace to others. We ask that our souls would catch the wind of your spirit so that we would take your promises to all the earth. Amen.

A Prayer for Lent

Lord, I will turn,
Turn my face towards you.
I will lay before you the desert areas I hide
And turn to soak in your refreshing words of life.
I will cast aside the barren, selfish pursuits
And turn to rest in the tranquil warmth of your love.
I will draw back from the harsh pull of media
And turn to bathe in the gentle power of your Spirit.
Lord, today I turn my face towards you.

I will turn
To soak in your words of life,
To rest in the warmth of your love,
And to bathe in the power of your Spirit.

Prayer for Fasting

I shall lay aside the pressure I feel, and retreat into your space,
Away from distractions, I’ll seek you face to face.
I shall lean into you Lord, where the weight of the world
Falls away from my shoulders, let your freedom unfold.

I shall burrow so deeply, in you I’m covered and safe,
Lift my eyes up to linger on the love in you gaze.
I shall shelter, encircled by the depth of your care,
Where your majesty leads me, I await you in prayer.

I shall whisper my worries, here I’ll open my fears
And lay here unfolded, in a river of tears.
I shall rest my soul gently and nestle into your hope,
Seeking only to dwell here, in your peace I will soak.

The Collect (Book of Common Prayers)
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness
Trusting God's promise of forgiveness, let us confess our sins against God and one another.

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you 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; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Words of Reassurance
In spite of our individual inadequacies, God has called us together to be Christ’s Body, and each one of us is indispensable. God remembers us, giving each of us distinct gifts, equipping each of us to provide guidance and accountability for one another, that we all may become more faithful followers of Christ. We are all greater as one Body than any single member of us could be on our own.

The Lessons

First Reading
Isaiah 58:1-12
False and True Worship
58:1 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 practiced righteousness
     and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
   they ask of me righteous judgments,
     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 rear guard.
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.

Psalm 51:1-17
Prayer for Cleansing and Pardon
To the leader. A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
1  Have mercy on me, O God,
     according to your steadfast love;
   according to your abundant mercy
     blot out my transgressions.
2  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
     and cleanse me from my sin.

3  For I know my transgressions,
     and my sin is ever before me.
4  Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
     and done what is evil in your sight,
   so that you are justified in your sentence
     and blameless when you pass judgment.
5  Indeed, I was born guilty,
     a sinner when my mother conceived me.

6  You desire truth in the inward being;
     therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
     wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8  Let me hear joy and gladness;
     let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9  Hide your face from my sins,
     and blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
     and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
     and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
     and sustain in me a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
     and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
     O God of my salvation,
     and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

15 O Lord, open my lips,
     and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice;
     if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
     a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Second Reading
2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10
5:20b We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

6:1 As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2 For 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! 3 We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

The Gospel
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Concerning Almsgiving
6:1 “Beware of practicing 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. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Concerning Prayer
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. 6 But 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.

Concerning Fasting
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. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so 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.

Concerning Treasures
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Here ends the Lessons

Click HERE to read today's Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Closing Prayer

Lord, thank you that we are a family in Christ. Help us to share his love and legacy with everyone that we encounter this week. May we lavish Christ’s abounding goodness upon our families, friends and colleagues. Holy Spirit, come and equip us in our workplace, guide us in our school life, and inspire us in our neighborhood. May we be your hands and feet to the needy, your words of affirmation to the oppressed and your arms of comfort to the lonely.

Thank you for choosing to use us to bring your kingdom here on earth. Amen.

Optional parts of the readings are set off in square brackets.

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.
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.

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