February 14, 2024 – Ash Wednesday

Lectionary Readings   -   Gathering   -  Word  -   Eucharist   -   Sending   -   Music and Art

Lectionary Readings

Joel 2:1–2, 12–17
The day of the Lord is coming; return to God with all your heart.

or Isaiah 58:1–12
The fast God chooses: do justice, release captives, help the poor.

Psalm 51:1–17
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new spirit within me.

2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10
Be reconciled to God in Christ; now is the day of salvation!

Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21
Don’t flaunt your fasting and prayer; store up treasure in heaven.

— Gathering —

Opening Sentences

We come to God with full and prayerful hearts.
We yearn to turn to God.
We mark on our foreheads our need for grace,
giving thanks and praise for mercy.
Hear our call to be in your will, O God.

Prayer of the Day

Holy God,
in the stillness of the hour,
we listen for the Spirit’s voice.
With broken hearts,
we remember our faults and fears.
And still, the Comforter comes and soothes
so that we may feel the power of promised forgiveness.
As we journey with Christ
and seek strength for the life of faith,
may we be reconciled unto God. Amen.

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Thanksgiving For Baptism

At the baptismal font:
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

O Lord our God, we give you thanks
for the mercy you so freely offer us
through the grace of our baptism—
safe passage through the sea,
justice rolling down like water,
deliverance from sin and death forever.
By the power of your Holy Spirit,
poured out upon us in baptism,
teach us to love and serve you faithfully
and reconcile us to you and to one another
as members of one, living body;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

NOTE: In the service for Ash Wednesday, the Confession/Pardon may be replaced by Psalm 51 and the Litany of Penitence, following the Sermon.

Confession and Pardon

At the baptismal font:
In the name of Christ, I urge you:
Be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20

Trusting in God’s grace, let us confess our sin.

Create in us a clean heart, O God,
And put a new and right spirit within us.
Cast us not away from your presence,
and restore in us the joy of your salvation.
From dust we came and to dust we shall return.
While we are here, O God, forgive us of our sins,
and teach us to use every minute from our birth to our grave
for the glory of your reign.

Lifting water from the font:
Listen, the time has come at last.
Look, now is the day of salvation!
2 Corinthians 6:2

In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!
Thanks be to God.

— Word —

Prayer for Illumination

At the lectern or pulpit:
Merciful God,
your Word is our way of truth and life.
Create in us hearts that are clean
and put your Holy Spirit within us,
so that we may receive your grace
and declare your praise forever;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Before the readings:
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 51:15

After the readings:
We proclaim Christ crucified—
the wisdom and power of God.
Thanks be to God.
1 Corinthians 1:23–25


Ascription of Praise

After the sermon:
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
we bend our knees
and lift up our hearts,
giving glory to God forever. Amen.
Philippians 2:9–11

Invitation to Lenten Discipline

Psalm 51

Litany of Penitence

Imposition of Ashes

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Affirmation of Faith

Season of Lent, Ash Wednesday
The reconciling act of God in Jesus Christ
exposes the evil in people
as sin in the sight of God.
In sin, people claim mastery of their own lives,
turn against God and each other,
and become exploiters
and despoilers of the world.
They lose their humanity in futile striving
and are left in rebellion, despair, and isolation.
But God’s love never changes.
Against all who oppose the divine will,
God expresses love in wrath.
In the same love, God bore judgment
and shameful death in Jesus Christ,
to bring all people to repentance and new life.
Adapted from the Confession of 1967, 9.12, 9.14

Prayers of the People

Out of the ashes, up from the dust
we bring our prayers to God, saying:
In your steadfast love, O Lord, have mercy on us.

God of all mercy, we pray for the church . . .
Bring us through every obstacle and trial
so that we might be a living sign
of the new life you offer to all.
In your steadfast love, O Lord, have mercy on us.

God of all mercy, we pray for the world . . .
Put an end to war and destruction.
Let the people of every nation
learn your ways of grace and peace.
In your steadfast love, O Lord, have mercy on us.

God of all mercy, we pray for this community . . .
Help us to share our food with the hungry,
to welcome the homeless, clothe the naked,
and never to hide from neighbors in need.
In your steadfast love, O Lord, have mercy on us.

God of all mercy, we pray for loved ones . . .
Look with healing and compassion
on those who are troubled by sickness or sin.
Deliver them from every evil.
In your steadfast love, O Lord, have mercy on us.

Restore in us, O God, the joy of your salvation;
renew and sustain our spirits,
so that we may live according to your will;
through Jesus Christ, our hope and strength. Amen.

— Eucharist —

Invitation to Offering

At the communion table:
Jesus says: Where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.
Let us offer our lives to the Lord.
Matthew 6:21

Prayer of Dedication

At the communion table:
You have shown us, O God,
the sacrifice that you desire.
Now use these gifts—
and use our lives—
to liberate the oppressed,
to break the bonds of injustice,
to feed the hungry,
welcome the poor,
and unite the human family;
all in the name and for the sake
of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Isaiah 58:6–7

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.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God:
You are gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The fast that you desire is righteousness and justice, compassion and peace:
to feed the hungry, help the poor, welcome the stranger, and set captives free.
Therefore we praise you, joining the song
of the universal church and the heavenly choir:
A Sanctus (“Holy, holy, holy”) is sung.

Blessed is Jesus Christ, our Savior:
Jesus teaches sincerity of faith, and purity of heart in prayer and action—
not to make a spectacle of worship or charity, but to seek the inner gifts of grace;
not to store up treasures on earth, but to trust the heavenly treasure of your love.
The words of institution are included here.
Remembering your goodness and grace,
we offer ourselves to you with gratitude
as we share this joyful feast.
A Memorial Acclamation (e.g., “Christ has died”) is sung.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon this bread and cup;
make us one in the body and blood
of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Keep us faithful through hardship and suffering, hunger and sleepless nights.
Grant us purity, patience, kindness, holiness, truthful speech, and genuine love,
so that we may be reconciled to you through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through the Lord Jesus Christ,
in the unity of the Spirit,
we bless you, God of glory,
now and forever.
An Amen is sung.

Lord’s Prayer

Breaking the Bread

Communion of the People

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Prayer after Communion

At the communion table:
Holy God, we give you thanks
that you have claimed us as your own
and nourished us in this meal
as members of Christ’s body.
By the work of your Spirit within us
give us the grace to glorify you
as one, living body in the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
1 Corinthians 6:15–20

— Sending —

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song


Blessing and Charge

At the doors of the church:
May the steadfast love of God,
the abundant grace of Jesus Christ,
and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit
be with you this day and always. Amen.
Psalm 51:1, 11

Remember the words of the Lord Jesus:
If any wish to be my disciples
let them take up the cross
and follow me. Amen.
Mark 8:34

Ash Wednesday

Karl Spitzweg, 1855

Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy (OE) RESTORATION GTG 415
  • Hear the Good News of Salvation (E) NETTLETON GTG 441
  • Just As I Am, without One Plea (E) WOODWORTH GTG 442 JUST AS I AM AAHH 344
  • Praise, My God/Soul, the King of Heaven (O) LAUDA ANIMA GTG 619, 620


  • Create in Me a Clean Heart (OG) CREATE IN ME GTG 422
  • Lord, I Want to Be a Christian (G) I WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN GTG 729
  • Seek Ye First (G) LAFFERTY GTG 175
  • When the Poor Ones (Cuando el pobre) (O) EL CAMINO GTG 762


  • Before I Take the Body of My Lord (OE) LAYING DOWN GTG 428
  • The King of Love My Shepherd Is (O) ST. COLUMBA GTG 802
  • Sign Us with Ashes (O) PHOENIX GTG 433
  • Ah, Holy Jesus (EG) HERZLIEBSTER JESU GTG 218


  • We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight (EG) DUNLAP’S CREEK GTG 817
  • Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound (G) AMAZING GRACE GTG 649
  • What Wondrous Love Is This (E) WONDROUS LOVE GTG 215
  • There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy (O) IN BABILONE GTG 435

Psalms and Canticles


  • Have Mercy, God, upon My Life [IRISH]; GTG 421
  • Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God [SARADAY]; GTG 423, PAS 51H
  • God, Be Merciful to Me [GOD BE MERCIFUL, REDHEAD 76]; LUYH 622, 623, PAS 51N, 51 O, SSS 509 (with Spanish translation), 508 (with Spanish translation)
  • Ten piedad de mí / Lord, Have Mercy on Me [TEN PIEDAD DE MÍ]; PAS 51E, SSS 520
  • Have Mercy on Us, Living Lord [PTOMEY, CM]; PH 195, SGP 81


  • The Sacrifice You Accept, O God; PSA 48, PH 196, PAS 51G
  • Have Mercy on Me, O God; PAS 51L
  • Have Mercy on Us; OLOF 677
  • Be Merciful, O Lord; LP 20
  • Misericordia, Señor / Be Merciful, O Lord; PAS 51M
  • Be Merciful, O Lord, for We Have Sinned; SFTS2 6
  • Have Mercy on Me, O Lord; PND 20

    Organ Music

    • “Voluntary on ‘Restoration,’” A Mixture of Miniatures, John S. Dixon, LOR (E)
    • “Festive Voluntary on NETTLETON,” Easy Organ Library, vol. 69, David Lasky, LOR (E)
    • “An Ascending Prayer on ‘Amazing Grace,’” Thou Art the Way, Grimoaldo Macchia, LOR (E)
    • “Prelude on ST. COLUMBA,” Harold Friedell, MSM (M)
    • “Partita on NETTLETON,” Partitas of Praise, Alfred V. Fedak, LOR (E)

    Anthems for Adult Choirs

    • “The Lord Will Guide You Continually,” Frederick Swann, Chapel Hill Music, SATB, org (M)
    • “I Saw a New Heaven, Eric Nelson, MSM, SATB div, vc, org (A)
    • “Psalm 51,” Daniel Brewbaker, BH, SATB, org (A)
    • “Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God,” Victor Johnson, LOR, SATB, pno (E)
    • “Create in Me,” Michael Larkin, MSM, SATB, pno (M)
    • “Treasures in Heaven,” K. Lee Scott, AF, SATB, org (E)

    Handbell Music

    • “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy,” Karen Buckwalter, 3–5 oct, opt hc, BP, HB750, Level 3
    • “What Wondrous Love Is This,” Brenda Austin, 3–6 oct, opt hc, HOPE, 2872, Level 2+
    • “The King of Love My Shepherd Is,” Brian Childers, 3–6 oct, opt hc, Belissimo Publications, BP202011, Level 3


    • And Cleanse Me, Jan Richardson (JR)
    • Ash Wednesday, Jan Richardson (JR)
    • Heart of the World, Mikhail Reva, Ukraine (VDL)