Tuesday 21 February 2023

Ash Wednesday 2023,



Song “Again we keep this solemn fast”



For many centuries Christians have remembered the time of the last days of the life of Jesus until his death with great devotion. It has become a custom to fast and set aside time to pray. This time was particularly set aside for those who were preparing for baptism. Today we join in this tradition and with people throughout our Covid world, to give ourselves during this time of Lent to prayer, fasting and to reading and meditating on what it means for us to commit to being a Christian, through the desert times, the mountains and the valleys of our lives.

We gather as we can. God’s Spirit joins us together across the distance

Psalm 86v3-7

Be gracious to me, Lord,
For I call upon You all day long.
Make the soul of Your servant joyful,
For to You, Lord, I lift up my soul.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all who call upon You.
Listen, Lord, to my prayer;
And give Your attention to the sound of my pleading!
On the day of my trouble I will call upon You,
For You will answer me.


We say sorry…


Loving God, we have sinned against you and against our neighbour in what we have thought, said and done, through ignorance, weakness and our own deliberate fault. We have wounded others and you and ourselves and marred your image in us. We are truly sorry and repent. Forgive us all that is past and lead us from darkness to walk as children of light. Amen.

A sign of lament: the imposition of ashes 

Traditionally the ashes are made out of the ash burnt from last year’s palm crosses mixed with olive oil. The ashes are usually marked on foreheads in a cross shape. 

As a sign of the spirit of penitence of Lent we receive a sign of the cross on our forehead. Loving God we remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return.

We put an ash cross on one another’s foreheads and say the words

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” 

Song “Take O Take me as I am”




As we turn from our old paths we remember that we were created from dust and will return to dust.

We reflect on our own failings 

We turn away from what is destructive to ourself and to others

We take up our cross 

And follow Jesus.

We embrace life.

In Jesus name, Amen 

Our Prayers for our world 

We marvel that we are made from the dust of the earth,
intimately connected and uniquely purposed within your creation. Yet we confess that we have polluted this planet with sin and soot, dirtying the world with unclean fuels and burning forests to ash.
We have disconnected ourselves from our relationship to this planet; we have ignored the fragility and deaths of our fellow humanity.

Lord of all creation…
Have mercy on us, we pray

We pray for the work of making justice and peace. We pray that we can consider how our time and resources, gifts and talents, might be used by you to offer hope and light into the world, and bring healing. 

Lord of all creation...

Have mercy on us, we pray

We pray for leaders, with the power to make changes which could lead us forward in hope. Particularly in Russia and Ukraine China and Iran and Syria, and in the UK concerning living and energy costs

Lord of all creation...

Have mercy on us, we pray

We pray for those who are suffering tonight, the sick and dying ones, the homeless, the tormented, the abused, the frightened and hungry. In silence, we bring to you the people and places who need your presence at this time. As we carry them with us, may we know God’s closeness and hope. 

We pray for our friends and families…

And for ourselves

Loving God may we be hope and light and bring healing to our corner of your world by the strength of your Spirit within us and we pray particularly for Ukraine. 

We say the Lord’s Prayer together in our own language

Isaiah 58v 6-9

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to lose the chains of injustice 

and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free 

and break every yoke?

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.”  

We share the unsettling Peace with one another: y, when there is no peace.”

The unsettling peace of the Lord be always with you: 

And also with you. 

We take our leave of one another, smudged this night, with the soil of penitence,
We will go out to share God’s forgiveness  

We will go out to bring healing, to offer grace to those trampled by the powerful. 
We will go out to stand with those experiencing injustice, to share the Spirit’s peace and reconciliation with the world. 

Drive us out into the wilderness of the world,
where there is chaos and the earth is damaged and people are hurting.
Help us to confront what is destructive in our own lives and around us. By your Spirit and the gentle ministering of your angels, Amen

Song “You make beautiful things”




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