Ash Wednesday is the start to the season of Lent. Ash Wednesday is celebrated by the imposition of Ashes on the forehead or back of the hand as a symbol of mourning and recognizing our own mortality. They are often imposed with the phrase “Remember you are dust, and to dust you return”. The Ashes help to be a physical reminder of the brevity of life. This is even evident in the Ashes themselves, they are the Ashes from the previous years palms from Palm Sunday. In this instance Jesus is being honored and celebrated and within a week he was dead. Then a few days later he was resurrected. This time, this season of Lent, helps to prepare us for Christ death, and to look past the cross to Resurrection morning (Easter). In the days ahead it also helps up to recognize our own mortality and to be able to see each day as a gift from God. Since the time of Jesus’ resurrection we have been looking toward his return as people of hope.
Here is the Ash Wednesday Order of Service for February 22, 2012:
Ash Wednesday Service
Call to Worship
In God’s life-giving Spirit, welcome.
The peace of God be yours.
Hush, friends, before the great mystery–we are!
The breath of life flows through us; it is not ours to control.
There was a time when we are not, but God breathed us into life.
We praise God for the holy marvel of our beginning.
There will be a time when we are no longer, when God calls us to lie down.
We pray to God for the grace to let go faithfully.
But in between is the awesome gift.
We live, laugh, hope, cry, work, play, and love, by the grace of God.
May God tune our hearts to the gracious wonder.
May God shape our lives as songs of grateful praise: Alleluia! Alleluia!
Old Testament Lesson: Psalm 51:1-17
Song of Reflection-Blessings by Laura Story
New Testament Lesson: 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Song of Reflection-My Beloved by Kari Jobe
Blessing of the Ashes:
Let us Pray:
who formed us from the dust of the earth
and who breathed into us the breath of life,
it is by your gift alone
that we know life and life eternal.
Grant that these ashes,
the dust of once- joyful palms,
may remind us of our mortality
and call us again to you.
In Christ we pray. Amen
Invitation to the Ashes:
We invite you know to come and receive these ashes, placing either a dot on your fore-head or on the back of your hand, we are identifying ourselves as those in mourning, in prayer, seeking in hope, the resurrected Christ. Will you come now, the invitation is open!
Songs Playing as Ashes were imposed
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross by Selah
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) by Chris Tomlin
Your breath fills us, O God, and then returns to you,
but in between is the gracious wonder that we are.
For that gift so precious, we praise you,
even as we pray for the wisdom to acknowledge it,
the courage to learn from it,
the faith to live it as your own people
of bold and grateful love.
In Christ we pray. Amen
Closing Song-Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus by Selah
Song played as we were leaving -Yearn by Shane and Shane
The Service content was from:
Breathing New Life Into Lent, Volume , A Collection of Creative Worship Resources (Year B)
by: John R. Pritchard Jr., Anne McKinstry, and Janet E. Powers
1999 Judson Press, Valley Forge, PA
The Songs used seem to be reflective and go along with the service material, and the scripture texts were from the Revised Common Lectionary for the Lectionary year B.