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An Invitation to Lent and a Litany for Ash Wednesday

February 13, 2013

Beloved of God, every year at the time of the Christian Passover we celebrate our redemption through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration and to renew our life in the paschal mystery. We begin this holy season by remembering our need for repentance, and for the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We begin our journey to Easter with the sign of ashes, an ancient sign, speaking of the frailty and uncertainty of human life, and marking the penitence of the community as a whole.

I invite you therefore, in the Name of the Lord, to observe a holy Lent by self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and by reading and meditating on the word of God.

I invite you to join with me in offering this prayer to our Creator and Redeemer.

Most holy and merciful Father, we confess to you, 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 neighbours 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 judgements, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbours, 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;
Hear us, Lord, for your mercy is great.

Almighty God, from the dust of the earth you have created us. May the ashes of this day be for us a sign of our mortality and penitence. May we remember we are dust, and to dust we shall return.

May we also remember that by your gracious gift are we given eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Accomplish in us, O God, the work of your salvation,
That we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son, our Lord,
Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection. Amen.

Ash Wednesday

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The above invitation and litany are adapted from the Ash Wednesday Service in the Book of Alternative Services, which we shared together at St. Paul’s this morning.

You can access last year’s Ash Wednesday posting, “Rend Your Heart: A Blessing for Ash Wednesday – By Jan L. Richardson,” by clicking here.

From → All Posts, Music, Prayers

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