Jan 28, 2013

Ash Wednesday Liturgy

Here’s a corporate confession and liturgy for the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday. It is set for leader and congregation (divided into two voices).

Ash Wednesday Liturgy

Corporate Confession
Leader: Creator God, you fashioned us out of dust,
            breathing your Spirit into us,
            so we might sing your praise. 
One:     But we have denounced your gift of life
            in order to be our own gods,
            clinging to death-dealing idols of our own making.   
Two:     We have denied our creaturely status,
            seeking to lord it over those we label “less-than.”  
One:     We squelch all who are different
            through ignoring, belittling, murdering, and bombing.
Two:     We believe survival-of-the-fittest lies,
            discounting the weak,
            and profiting by others’ pain. 
Leader: Not trusting in your providence,
            we stop our ears to cries of those in need
            because we’re afraid we won’t have enough. 
One:     We have been unfaithful stewards, O Lord. 
Two:     We live in a state of sin among a people of sin. 
One:     Save for your grace, we perish.      
Two:     Remember our making, Creator God;
            remember we are dust. 
All:       Have mercy on us according to your loving kindness. 
            Breathe new life into us once more,
            so we might be the people you created us to be.  
            Restore unto us the joy of your salvation
            that we might do justice, love kindness,
            and walk humbly with the Lord Jesus Christ,
            in whose name we pray,
Silent confession of sin

Imposition of ashes
Leader: Those who so desire may come forward
            to receive an imposition of ashes
            as a sign of penitence not only for our individual sin,
            but also in recognition of our complicity in the sin of the world. 
Assurance of Pardon (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
Hear the promise of God:
“I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you will be clean
from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 
A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you;
and I will remove from your body the heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh. 
I will put my spirit within you,
and make you follow my statutes
and be careful to observe my ordinances.” 

Friends, the promises of God are true:
In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross
that we might be dead to sin and alive to all that is good.
In the name of Jesus Christ you are forgiven. 
Live now as new people, free to love God and neighbor.

~ posted on the PCUSA website. http://www.pcusa.org/