Ash Wednesday

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

March, 2 2021
Lent

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21; Litany of Penitence


Opening Prayer

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. [1]

Antiphon

When ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of sad countenance.

Old Testament: Isaiah 58:1-12

The fast that God chooses

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.

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.

“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.

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.

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?

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?

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?

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.

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,

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.

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.

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.

Refrain

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Let us pray:

Grant, most merciful Lord, to your faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve you with a quiet mind; through Christ our Lord. Amen. [2]


Antiphon

Turn ye even unto Me, saith the Lord, with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.

Psalter: Psalm 51:1-17

Plea for mercy

Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy

blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is ever before me.

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.

Indeed, I was born guilty,

a sinner when my mother conceived me.

You desire truth in the inward being;

therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,

and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and put a new and right spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

and do not take your holy spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

and sinners will return to you.

Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,

O God of my salvation,

and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

O Lord, open my lips,

and my mouth will declare your praise.

For you have no delight in sacrifice;

if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Refrain

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Let us pray:

Grant, Almighty God, that your people may recognize their weakness and put their whole trust in your strength, so that they may rejoice for ever in the protection of your loving providence; through Christ our Lord. Amen. [3]


Antiphon

O Lord, deal not with us after our sins, neither reward us after our iniquities.

Epistle: 2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10

Now is the day of salvation

We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

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

Refrain

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Let us pray:

Look with compassion, O Lord, upon this your people; that, rightly observing this holy season, they may learn to know you more fully, and to serve you with a more perfect will; through Christ our Lord. Amen. [4]


Antiphon

Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven; where neither moth nor rust dust corrupt.

Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

The practice of faith

“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.

“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. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“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. 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.

“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. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 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.

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

Refrain

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Let us pray:

O God,

you do not desire the death of sinners, 

but you want them to turn to you and live. 

Look with pity on the weakness of our mortal nature. 

We confess that we are but ashes,

and for our wickedness we deserve to return to the dust. 

Forgive all our sins,

and give us the blessings that come with true repentance; 

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen. [5]


Litany of Penitence

(all kneeling)

Most holy and merciful Father:

We confess to you and to one another,

and to the whole communion of saints

in heaven and on earth,

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, Lord.

We have been deaf 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, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the

pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation

of other people,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those

more fortunate than ourselves,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and

our dishonesty in daily life and work,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to

commend the faith that is in us,

We confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done:

for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our

indifference to injustice and cruelty,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

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, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of

concern for those who come after us,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;

Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of your salvation,

That we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord,

Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection. [6]

Concluding prayer of the Church

O LORD, we beseech Thee , mercifully hear our prayers, and spare all those who confess their sins unto Thee; that they, whose consciences by sin are accused, by Thy merciful pardon may be absolved; through Christ our Lord. Amen. [7]



Citations:

[1] Episcopal Church. (1979). Collects: Seasons of the Year. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 217). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[2] The Episcopal Church. (2018). Seasonal Blessings. In The Book of Occasional Services (PDF ed., p. 11). Then Episcopal Church. Retrieved November December 15, 2020, from https://episcopalchurch.org/files/lm_book_of_occasional_services_2018.pdf

[3] The Episcopal Church. (2018). Seasonal Blessings. In The Book of Occasional Services (PDF ed., p. 11). Then Episcopal Church. Retrieved November December 15, 2020, from https://episcopalchurch.org/files/lm_book_of_occasional_services_2018.pdf

[4] The Episcopal Church. (2018). Seasonal Blessings. In The Book of Occasional Services (PDF ed., p. 12). Then Episcopal Church. Retrieved November December 15, 2020, from https://episcopalchurch.org/files/lm_book_of_occasional_services_2018.pdf

[5] Stratman, P. (2001). Lent. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 75). Rossway.

[6] Episcopal Church. (1979). Ash Wednesday. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 267-269). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.


[7] Episcopal Church. (1911). Common of Saints. In Breviary offices from Lauds to Compline inclusive: Translated from the Sarum Book and Supplemented from Gallican and Monastic Uses (Ebook ed., Printed For The Society Of S. Margaret, Boston, U.S., pp. 157). New York, NY: J. Pott &.

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