Worship for Ash Wednesday

February 17, 2021

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we continue to worship physically apart and spiritually together through Zoom and livestreaming on Facebook and YouTube. Prepare for worship with a small bowl of water, a little bit of oil or perfume (olive oil works great), bread, and wine. Rather than attempting to use ashes this year, we remember our mortality and remember God’s promise to be with us with anointing with oil when we normally would have the Imposition of Ashes.


We gather in silence.

Psalm 51:1-17

Refrain – Sing twice at the beginning and once at the ℟

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love.

1Have mercy on me, O God, according to your | steadfast love;
  in your great compassion blot out | my offenses.
2Wash me through and through | from my wickedness,
  and cleanse me | from my sin.
3For I know | my offenses,
  and my sin is ev- | er before me.
4Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil | in your sight;
  so you are justified when you speak and right | in your judgment. ℟

5Indeed, I was born | steeped in wickedness,
  a sinner from my | mother’s womb.
6Indeed, you delight in truth | deep within me,
  and would have me know wisdom | deep within.
7Remove my sins with hyssop, and I | shall be clean;
  wash me, and I shall be pur- | er than snow.
8Let me hear | joy and gladness;
  that the body you have broken | may rejoice. ℟

9Hide your face | from my sins,
  and blot out | all my wickedness.
10Create in me a clean | heart, O God,
  and renew a right spir- | it within me.
11Cast me not away | from your presence,
  and take not your Holy Spir- | it from me.
12Restore to me the joy of | your salvation
  and sustain me with your boun- | tiful Spirit. ℟

13Let me teach your ways | to offenders,
  and sinners shall be re- | stored to you.
14Rescue me from bloodshed, O God of | my salvation,
and my tongue shall sing | of your righteousness.
15O Lord, o- | pen my lips,
  and my mouth shall pro- | claim your praise.
16For you take no delight in sacrifice, or | I would give it.
  You are not pleased | with burnt offering.
17The sacrifice of God is a | troubled spirit;
  a troubled and broken heart, O God, you will | not despise. ℟


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

And also with you.

Prayer of the Day

Let us pray,

A period of silence for reflection.

Almighty and ever-living God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and honest hearts, so that, truly repenting of our sins, we may receive from you, the God of all mercy, full pardon and forgiveness through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.



First Reading – Joel 2:1-2, 12-17

A reading from Joel.

1Blow the trumpet in Zion;
  sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
 Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
  for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near—
2a day of darkness and gloom,
  a day of clouds and thick darkness!
 Like blackness spread upon the mountains
  a great and powerful army comes;
 their like has never been from of old,
  nor will be again after them
  in ages to come.

12Yet even now, says the Lord,
  return to me with all your heart,
 with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
  13rend your hearts and not your clothing.
 Return to the Lord, your God,
  for the Lord is gracious and merciful,
 slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
  and relents from punishing.
14Who knows whether the Lord will not turn and relent,
  and leave behind a blessing,
 a grain offering and a drink offering
  for the Lord, your God?

15Blow the trumpet in Zion;
  sanctify a fast;
 call a solemn assembly;
  16gather the people.
 Sanctify the congregation;
  assemble the aged;
 gather the children,
  even infants at the breast.
 Let the bridegroom leave his room,
  and the bride her canopy.

17Between the vestibule and the altar
  let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.
 Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord,
  and do not make your heritage a mockery,
  a byword among the nations.
 Why should it be said among the peoples,
  ‘Where is their God?’ ”

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.

ACS 1075– “O God, We Call”

Second Reading – 2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10

A reading from 2 Corinthians

20bWe entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
6:1As we work together with God, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For God says,
 “At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
  and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.

Lenten Acclamation

Let your steadfast love come to us, O Lord.
Save us as you promised; we will trust your word.

Gospel – Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

The holy gospel according to St. Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.

[Jesus said:] 1“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2“So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 16“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.


Hymn of the Day –ACS 922– “When We Are Tested”

Invitation to Lent

Friends in Christ, today with the whole church we enter the time of remembering Jesus’ passover from death to life, and our life in Christ is renewed.

We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance and for God’s mercy. We are created to experience joy in communion with God, to love one another, and to live in harmony with creation. But our sinful rebellion separates us from God, our neighbors, and creation, so that we do not enjoy the life our creator intended.

As disciples of Jesus, we are called to a discipline that contends against evil and resists whatever leads us away from love of God and neighbor. I invite you, therefore, to the discipline of Lent—self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, sacrificial giving and works of love—strengthened by the gifts of word and sacrament.

Let us continue our journey through these forty days to the great Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Confession of Sin

Most holy and merciful God,
we confess to you and to one another,
and before the whole company of heaven,
that we have sinned by our fault,
by our own fault,
by our own most grievous 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 neighbors as ourselves.
We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, O God.

We have shut our ears 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, O God.

Our past unfaithfulness, the pride, envy, hypocrisy,
and apathy that have infected our lives,
we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways,
and our exploitation of other people,
we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Our negligence in prayer and worship,
and our failure to share the faith that is in us,
we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Our neglect of human need and suffering,
and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,
we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Our false judgments,
our uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors,
and our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us,
we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Our waste and pollution of your creation,
and our lack of concern for those who come after us,
we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Restore us, O God,
and let your anger depart from us.
Hear us, O God, for your mercy is great.

ACS 1075 – O God, We Call

Remembrance of Baptism and Anointing

Oil, especially perfumed oils, mark God’s favor and God’s presence, in baptism and at the time of death. This year, rather than marking our brows with ashes, we mark our brows with oil, remembering our baptism.

When we were baptized in Christ Jesus, we were baptized into his death.
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

Let us pray,

Almighty God, in our baptism you joined us to yourself
and marked us with your cross forever.
May this oil be a sign for us of your promise, reminding us
that only by the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ are we given eternal life;
through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


If you are with us on Zoom, please unmute to join in the anointing. We will go around the video, marking the sign of the cross on the forehead of each person. Lowell will remotely mark the first person, who will then remotely mark the next, and so on. Persons gathered with multiple people present are encouraged for mark the person sitting with them. These words, echoing the words of anointing at baptism, are used:

___ child of God, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.

After all receive the sign of the cross, we continue

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 Savior,
bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

Almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ,
strengthen us in all goodness,
and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life.


Prayers of Intercession

If you are with us on Zoom, please unmute for the prayers. We pray for the church, the world, and all in need. Please respond to each petition with Have mercy, O God.


The peace of Christ be with you always.
And also with you.


Offertory – ELW 186 – Create in Me a Clean Heart O God.

Offering Prayer

God our provider,
you have not fed us with bread alone, but with words of grace and life.
Bless us and these your gifts, which we receive from your bounty,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right, our duty and our joy,
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful God,
through our Savior Jesus Christ.
You call your people to cleanse their hearts
and prepare with joy for the paschal feast,
that, renewed in the gift of baptism,
we may come to the fullness of your grace.
And so, with all the choirs of angels,
with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven,
we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy God,
          our living Water and our merciful Guide
          together with rivers and seas, wells and spring
          we bless and magnify you.

You led your people Israel through the desert,
          and provided them water from the rock.

We praise you for Christ, our Rock and our Water,
          who joined us in our desert,
          pouring out his life for the world.

In the night in which he was betrayed,
          our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;
          broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
          Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.
          Do this for the remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,
          and gave it for all to drink, saying:
          This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
          shed for you and for all people
                   for the forgiveness of sin.
          Do this for the remembrance of me.

Remembering, therefore,
          his life, death, and resurrection,
          we await your salvation for all this thirsty world,
          as we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Pour out your Spirit on this holy food
and on all the baptized gathered for this feast,
wash away our sin,
that we may be revived for our journey by the love of Christ.

Through him all glory and honor is yours,
Almighty Father, with the Holy Spirit,
in your holy Church,
both now and forever.


Lord’s Prayer

Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.

Invitation to the Table

These are indeed the gifts of God for you, the very much beloved people of God. Taste and see that God is good.


All distribute to one another saying:

The body of Christ, given for you.
The blood of Christ, shed for you.

Blessing at the Table

May the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in eternal life.

Prayer after communion

Merciful God,
accompany our journey through these forty days.
Renew us in the gift of baptism,
that we may provide for those who are poor,
pray for those in need,
fast from self-indulgence,
and above all that we may find our treasure in the life of your Son,
Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.




The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy.
The Lord look upon you with favor and ☩ give you peace.


Sending Song – ACS 1034 – “When it Seems the Day Will End”

1880.WhenItSeems.p.musx (elca.org)


Go forth into the world to serve God with gladness;
be of good courage;
hold fast to that which is good;
render to no one evil for evil;
strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak;
help the afflicted; honor all people;
love and serve God, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks be to God.

We hear “When it seems the day will end” again on the chimes, reflecting on the refrain:
New life rising (new life rising),
ashes falling (ashes falling),
joy and weeping (joy and weeping),
in our calling (in our calling).

Join us on Zoom for a brief time of fellowship.

Liturgy from Evangelical Lutheran Worship and Sundays and Seasons © Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission under Augsburg Fortress Annual Liturgies License SBT002156. Music is used by permission under OneLicense.net # A-715196. “When it seems the day will end” is by Justin Rimbo, © 2020 Augsburg Fortress.

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