Here are some opening words for the start of Ash Wednesday worship (February 22, 2012). They come from a longer set of services for Lent (Come to the Water) by Alice F. Waanders and Mark Quist in the December, 2005 issue of Reformed Worship.
A Call to Begin a Journey to the Cross
One: People of God, each year we remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which he overcame death and provided for us redemption from sin. Lent is a season of preparation for this celebration, a time of personal and communal renewal and repentance. Tonight we begin a journey that will lead us to the cross and finally to the empty tomb. Tonight we begin with ashes.
Ashes are a powerful symbol, reminding us of our mortality and our need for renewal. We invite you to self-examination, prayer, meditation upon God’s Word, and fasting during this season of Lent. May God bless us as we strive to walk in the way of our Lord.
Two: “Even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” (Joel 2:12-13)
— from Come to the Water by Alice F. Waanders and Mark Quist in the December, 2005 issue of Reformed Worship. To view the entire service, click here.
For other worship resources for Ash Wednesday (February 22, 2012), click on Ash Wednesday in the list of “Labels” at the lower right side of the page.