Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

We sat in a circle in the parish hall as the sun was setting this evening to read the Ash Wednesday liturgy. No particular reason for the location, but we've gotten used to this intimate face-to-face setting for Evening Prayer and it somehow seemed more appropriate than the formality of the church with candles blazing, altar draped in lenten purple.

Admitting you're wrong is, too, best done face to face and this is the only day of year we go to church to have dirt rubbed in our faces quite so explicitly.

A single candle burning. Ashes produced earlier in the day by burning Palm Sunday fronds from last year ready in a saucer grabbed from a kitchen cupboard.

Lessons from Isaiah (58:1-12), Psalms (103), 2 Corinthians (5:20b-6:10) and Matthew 6 (1-6; 16-21).

 And then the ashes, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Finally, the Litany of Penance:

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 or Lord,

bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

--- The Book of Common Prayer, "Ash Wednesday," pp. 264-269.

1 comment:

Jane said...