March 5, 2025 – 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

Have mercy on us, O God,
according to your steadfast love.
For we know our transgressions,
and our sin is ever before us.
Create in us a clean heart, O God,
and make us a new creation.
Restore to us the joy of your salvation.
Then we will teach sinners your way
and all creation will return to you.
O Lord, open our lips,
and our mouths will declare your praise!
Let us worship God!

Prayer of the Day

Merciful God,
we come to this season in need of repair.
Help our weakness to be our strength,
as it makes us more aware of our need for you.
Let the Spirit be our guide
as we journey with Christ and seek to follow him.
Help us breathe in the Spirit,
move in Christ’s ways,
and live into your call. 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.
God of ancient covenants,
who never breaks trust,
we thank you for baptismal waters
that pour out your steadfast love
for all creation.
Thank you for the salvation promise
you have kept.
In the name of Jesus,
the Living Water, we pray. Amen.

Confession and Pardon

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

At the baptismal font:
We confess as one body before God alone.
We confess as persons known and beloved by God.
Let us pray together with our distinct voices,
trusting the Spirit to intercede for us all.

Holy God,
how quickly we defend ourselves.
Our minds are full of excuses,
justification, and denial.
The sense of threat
distances us from one another
and hardens our hearts.
Humble us.
Hold us.
Heal us.
Forgive us, O God,
our creator and sustainer.
Our hope and restoration
depend on you alone.

Lifting water from the font:
The Spirit guides us as we navigate
the known and the unknown of this world.
Our defenses crumble
in the presence of God’s holiness.
Our hearts are softened
in the presence of Christ’s mercy.
Trust the good news of the gospel;
nothing in life or death, nor any power,
can take from you the love of God.
In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!

— Word —

Prayer for Illumination

At the lectern or pulpit:
O Lord of light and salvation,
let these words of Scripture
live not only in our mouths,
but in our hearts,
that we will embody your truth
and confess with our lives
that Jesus is Lord. Amen.


Before the readings:
The Word is near to us, 
on our lips and in our hearts. 
Romans 10:8 

After the readings: 
This is the Word of faith 
that we proclaim. 
Thanks be to God. 
Romans 10:8 


Ascription of Praise

After the sermon: 
Let every tongue confess 
that Jesus Christ is Lord. Amen. 
Philippians 2:11 

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Affirmation of Faith

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 Intercession

Let us have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus

as we pray for the world he came to save,

saying: Have mercy, O God; hear our prayer.


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.  

Have mercy, O God; hear our prayer.


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.

Have mercy, O God; hear our prayer.


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.

Have mercy, O God; hear our prayer.


We pray for loved ones . . .

Look with healing and compassion

on those who are troubled by sickness or sin.

Deliver them from every evil.

Have mercy, O God; hear our prayer.


As we pour out our hearts in prayer, O God,

lead us to pour out our lives in service to you—

ever seeking your will, ever following your way;

all in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

— Eucharist —

Invitation to Offering

At the communion table:
Through the grace of God,
we have gifts in abundance
and pour them out
like perfume from a flask,
not for our sakes,
but to worship the One who
lavishes love on the world.

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:
Giving God, living Lord,
you have fed us with your body.
You have poured out your life that we might live.
We thank you,
for we have tasted your goodness in this meal.
Fed, we are strengthened;
filled, we are renewed
to share the abundance of your love
with a hungry world. Amen.

— Sending —

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song


Blessing and Charge

At the doors of the church: 
May the Spirit of the triune God 
strengthen and sustain you, 
all throughout these forty days 
and into the life that is to come. Amen. 
Luke 4:1–2 

Go in peace, 
proclaiming the message of reconciliation 
God has entrusted to us. Amen. 
2 Corinthians 5:19 


David Jones

Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • We Cannot Measure How You Heal (OE) YE BANKS AND BRAES GTG 797

  • Lord, Who throughout These Forty Days (EG) ST. FLAVIAN GTG 166, PH 81


  • Love the Lord Your God (OEG) GREAT COMMANDMENT GTG 62, STF 2168

  • Jesus Knows the Inmost Heart (OG) LO DE ÍSÁ GTG 427

  • As a Chalice Cast of Gold (OG) INWARD LIGHT GTG 429, PH 336

  • Forgive Us, God (G) JOB/Adam Tice Claim the Mystery 20


  • There Is a Longing in Our Hearts (OEG) LONGING GTG 470

  • O Lord, Hear My Prayer (OEG) HEAR MY PRAYER GTG 471, STF 2200

  • Sign Us with Ashes (O) PHOENIX GTG 433

  • Give Us Clean Hands (O) Charlie Hall LUYH 628

  • Quietly, Peacefully (O) NEW WORLD (Dvorak) VT 533


  • Before I Take the Body of My Lord (OEG) LAYING DOWN GTG 428

  • Bread of Life from Heaven (OEG) ARGENTINE SANTO GTG 497

  • Rise, O Church, like Christ Arisen (E) SURGE ECCLESIA GTG 536


  • In the Midst of New Dimensions (OEG) NEW DIMENSIONS GTG 315, STF 2238

  • O for a Closer Walk with God (OEG) CAITHNESS/DALEHURST GTG 739, PH 396, 397

  • In a Deep, Unbounded Darkness (OEG) DIVINUM MYSTERIUM GTG 850

Psalms and Canticles

Psalm 51

  • 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

  • Ten piedad de mí / Lord, Have Mercy on Me [TEN PIEDAD DE MI]; PAS 51E

  • Have Mercy on Us, Living Lord [CM]; SGP 81


  • The Sacrifice You Accept, O God; PSA 48, PH 196, PAS 51G 

  • Have Mercy on Me, O God; PAS 51L

  • Misericordia, Señor / Be Merciful, O Lord; PAS 51M

  • The Lord Remembers That We Are but Dust [OLD 124TH]; HTP1 108

  • Be Merciful, O Lord, for We Have Sinned; PFTS2 6

Organ Music

  • “Aus der Tiefe ruf ich,” HEINLEIN BWV 745, J. S. Bach, (M)

  • “Erbarm dich mein, O Herre Gott,” BWV 721, J. S. Bach, (M)

  • “O Lord, throughout These Forty Days,” CAITHNESS, Journey to the Cross: Hymn Preludes for Lent and Holy Week, James Biery, CON (M)

Piano Music

  • “Change My Heart, O God,” CHANGE MY HEART, Even More Sunday Solos for Piano, HAL (M)

  • “Today We All Are Called to Be Disciples,” KINGSFOLD, The Pianist under Pressure, Jason Krug, LOR (M)

  • “Savior, When in Dust to You,” ABERYSTWYTH, Endless Song, Jerry van der Pol, AUG (M)

Anthems for Adult Choirs

  • “Lord, I’m Coming Home,” Anna Laura Page and Jean Anne Shafferman, LOR, SATB, keybd (E)

  • “Abana,” Laila Constantine, arr. Greg Scheer, GIA, SATB, keybd (M)

  • “Create in Me a Clean Heart,” Matthew Culloton, MSM, SATB, pno, solo (ME)

  • “Kyrie Eleison: A Lenten Prayer,” Brian Childers, HAL, SATB, pno (M)


  • Man Praying to the Holy Spirit, Guillaume Vrelant, 1460–69 (VDL)

  • Aschenblume, Anselm Kiefer, 1983–97 (VCS)

  • Psalm 51:4, 7 & 10–12, Timothy R. Botts, 2016 (EYE)

  • Bride, David Jones, 1931 (VCS)

  • xb_Ash Wednesday – B&W, Nicholas Markell, 2016 (EYE)