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Ash Wednesday

Worship
LECTIONARY WORSHIP AIDS
Series III, Cycle A
CALL TO WORSHIP
Take joy in your salvation and be willing to obey God as the Spirit prompts you.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
God above all, you have created us from the ground up and in Christ came to our turf, to show us again that the earth is yours and you have made all things to be good. Your own Spirit infused life into the lifeless so that the human race should be distinct not in its physical properties but in its ability to control behavior individually and socially, Forgive lack of self-control, for abuse of what you have created for the good of all. May such fasting and penitence as we may practice enable us to balance things out and to bring the spiritual and the physical into equilibrium, following the example of Jesus Christ. Amen.

DECLARATION OF GOD'S FORGIVENESS
Hear the Good News! God appointed the sinless Christ to share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the goodness of God. Friends, believe the Good News. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

EXHORTATION
Having received God's grace in Christ, do not let it be wasted, but express it to others enriching them as well.

PRAYER OF THE DAY
Distinguished and distinguishing Spirit, grant us wisdom, so that both our fasting and our charitable actions are inconspicuous. Then only you will know what we have done and we will be content with your private reward. Amen.

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Maker, Sharer and Shaper of the human spirit, we are thankful that we have not been cast in stone that cannot be reshaped. You forgive our failures and give us further opportunities to restore some of the beauty of your image. We can be thankful even for the trouble and suffering that brings us closer to you in prayer. Then at least we may recognize our need to depend on you. We welcome this Lenten season as a time of personal renewal. Amen.

PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Eternal God, Ruler of time and space, we offer to you an expanded portion of our time and increased concentration of our attention during this Lenten season for our own growth in grace and in love for your family. Amen.

PSALM 51:1-17
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love:
according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.

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