Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Daily Lectionary for WEDNESDAY, February 26, 2020 — Ash Wednesday

https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/revised-common-lectionary-complementary/2020/02/26?version=NIV
Ash Wednesday
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

The Daily Lectionary
WEDNESDAY, February 26, 2020 — Ash Wednesday
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

Ash Wednesday
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

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
(from the 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
God, this is a hard time. The focus of Lent is on the pain and suffering of Jesus and our own need for penitence. It is a time of gathering darkness. But we would rather skip this part and go straight to Easter. We would rather ignore the suffering—in you and in the world—and avoid the hard work of true self-examination. Forgive us for wanting this to be bright and painless and easy, when we know that Jesus did not take the easy way, but chose the path of the Cross. Teach us the true meaning of penitence, so that we use this Lenten season to humbly seek a clean heart and a renewed spirit. Amen.


Words of Reassurance
The truth is this: God’s love and mercy are never-ending. God knows us in our inward being; God cleanses us from our sins and shortcomings and restores to us the joy of salvation.


The Lessons


First Reading
Return to God
1  Blow the trumpet in Zion;
     sound the alarm on my holy hill.

   Let all who live in the land tremble,
     for the day of the Lord is coming.
   It is close at hand—
2    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.

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?’”
OR


The fast that God chooses
1  “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
     Raise your voice like a trumpet.
   Declare to my people their rebellion
     and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
2 For day after day they seek me out;
     they seem eager to know my ways,
   as if they were a nation that does what is right
     and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
   They ask me for just decisions
     and seem eager for God to come near them.
3  ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
     ‘and you have not seen it?
   Why have we humbled ourselves,
     and you have not noticed?’

   “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
     and exploit all your workers.
4  Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
     and in striking each other with wicked fists.
   You cannot fast as you do today
     and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5  Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
     only a day for people to humble themselves?
   Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
     and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
   Is that what you call a fast,
     a day acceptable to the Lord?

6  “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
   to loose the chains of injustice
     and untie the cords of the yoke,
   to set the oppressed free
     and break every yoke?
7  Is it not to share your food with the hungry
     and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
   when you see the naked, to clothe them,
     and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8  Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
     and your healing will quickly appear;
   then your righteousness will go before you,
     and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9  Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
     you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

   “If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
     with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
     and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
   then your light will rise in the darkness,
     and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
     he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
     and will strengthen your frame.
   You will be like a well-watered garden,
     like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
     and will raise up the age-old foundations;
   you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
     Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.


Plea for mercy
1  Have mercy on me, O God,
     according to your unfailing love;
   according to your great compassion
     blot out my transgressions.
2  Wash away all my iniquity
     and cleanse me from my sin.

3  For I know my transgressions,
     and my sin is always before me.
4  Against you, you only, have I sinned
     and done what is evil in your sight;
   so you are right in your verdict
     and justified when you judge.
5  Surely I was sinful at birth,
     sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6  Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
     you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
     wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8  Let me hear joy and gladness;
     let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9  Hide your face from my sins
     and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
     and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
     or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
     and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
     so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
     you who are God my Savior,
     and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
     and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
     you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
     a broken and contrite heart
     you, God, will not despise.


Second Reading
Now is the day of salvation
5:20b We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

6:1 As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says,

   “In the time of my favor I heard you,
     and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.


The Gospel
A remnant chosen by grace
6:1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, 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



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 Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Daily Lectionary is a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year A. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2020, we will be in Year B. The year which ended at Advent 2019 was Year C. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org
Ash Wednesday
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

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