This Week’s Theme
Create in Me a Clean Heart
On this Ash Wednesday, we begin our journey of lowliness with the Lord Jesus Christ, who set his face to go to Jerusalem, and there offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of all humankind. As pilgrims together with our Lord, let us pledge to walk the next forty days in openness, confession, and in generosity for his name’s sake.
Let our hearts cry out as David did, in contrition and humility after being confronted by the prophet Nathan for his sin with Bathsheba in Psalm 51. Let our hearts cry out for mercy to God, according to his steadfast love and abundant mercy. Let us petition the Lord to blot out our transgressions, to wash us thoroughly from our iniquities, and to cleanse us from our sins. He knows our transgression, and our sins are before us. Against him alone have we sinned and done evil. The Lord is righteous in all his indictments against us.
Let us flatly confess the truth: we were brought forth in error and conceived in sin. The Lord delights in truth in the inward being, the place from where he teaches us wisdom in the secret heart. He can purge us, wash us, and we will be clean, whiter than snow. Let us begin our journey this Lenten season with petitions for joy and gladness, that he might hide his face from our sins and blot out our iniquities. He alone can create in us a clean heart, and fill us with his Spirit. He alone can deliver, and, if he does, our souls will be set free and our joy will be restored. Finally healed, we can testify to others of the Lord’s goodness.
Let us now, then, set forth on this journey with the Lord, carrying our cross, and following him as he leads us. Let us offer to the Lord a broken spirit and a contrite heart. If we offer them, he will not despise them – he will accept them – and transform us.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O God, give us humility and meekness, make us long-suffering and gentle, help us to ever esteem others better than ourselves, and so, O Lord, teach us thus to follow more closely in the steps of our Divine Master, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ Twentieth Century (Fox, p. 6)
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Wednesday: Josh. 20-21; 1 Chron. 6.54-81
Psalm: Ps. 51.1-17
OT: Isa. 58.1-12
Gospel: Matt. 6.1-6, 16-21
NT: 2 Cor. 5.20b-6.10
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
O LORD, Almighty God of our fathers, we have sinned above the number of the sands of the sea. We have done evil before Thee, we have not done Thy will. Now therefore we bow the knee of our heart and beseech Thee forgive us, O Lord. Thou art the God, even the God of them that repent, and in us Thou wilt show all Thy goodness, for Thou wilt save us that are unworthy according to Thy great mercy. Therefore we will praise Thee for ever all the days of our life; for all the powers of the heavens do praise Thee, and Thine is the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
~ Manasseh, 400 B.C. (Fox, p. 216)
Affirmation for the Day
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love and abundant mercy.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Cleanse us, dear Savior, and renew in us a right spirit that seeks you always.
For Your Weekly Journey
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Why Jesus Came into the World, John 9.1-41
Phillips, Your God Is Too Small