Prayer for the JourneyAsh Wednesday Prayer Service
Preparation of the Sanctuary for Lent
Prominently display a cross draped in purple. Netting
works very well and is easy to use. Purple is chosen as the color of
passion and Jesus’ lordship. The purple drape should be replaced on Good
Friday with a black drape and for the Easter celebration with a white
Ash Wednesday Worship Setting
Place several large hand- or wheel- thrown pots and
bowls near the cross. Include a potter’s wheel, if available, or display
a slab of terra-cotta or other clay and a partially hand-built pot. Clay
is easily found at a craft store. Include a plate of ashes visible from
the congregation. Because the service is held in the evening, using
candles can be very effective and symbolize the fire that creates ashes as
it refines our physical life to ashes.
Call to the Community
Use a flute, violin, clarinet, or oboe for soft meditation music.
Scripture Call: Psalm 51:1–3, 10–12
*Hymns of Preparation
"Lay Your Hands"
"As the Deer"
*Congregational Response: "Come, Holy Spirit, Come"
We Are Dust; We Are Stardust
Theme Thoughts: Ash Wednesday and Lent.
See introductory materials above, "What Is
Lent?" We are dust because we are made of the basic elements of earth,
and earth is made from the explosion of the first star at the beginning of
time. God’s creation is both dust/physical and stardust/spiritual. We must
understand that the physical life does not replace the spiritual life, but
in fact is the vehicle for spirit and meaningless without that affirmation.
Scripture: Genesis 2:4–7
Hymn: "Breathe on Me, Breath of God"
OR "Spirit Divine, Attend Our Prayer"
From the back or balcony, very gently strike a small gong or resonant
bell before each pause.
From dust you were formed.
God fashioned you and breathed life into you.
God breathes life into you now.
Sense your breathing and the presence of God filling you.
Sense a deep longing to experience God’s presence.
Tonight we remember Jesus.
We have come willing to journey into the wilderness with Jesus,
seeking the truth about ourselves,
humbly preparing for renewal of our discipleship,
committing ourselves again as disciples of Jesus.
Examine your heart.
Examine your behavior.
Examine your commitment.
Are you willing to prepare your life for acceptable service?
As a person cleans house to prepare for an honored guest,
now create a clean heart and renew your spirit to welcome God’s
Breathe in me, breath of God.
Breathe in me your new life.
Fashioning a New Vessel
Hymn "O Christ, My Lord, Create in Me"
OR "Creator God, Creating Still"
Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 18:1–6
We are the raw material, God’s dust, from which God may fashion a
vessel worthy of the presence of the spirit. What are the materials of this
life that God calls us to consecrate? We are called to give alms. What can
Ministry of Music: "Hosea" by soloist
OR Hymn: "Where Wilt Thou Put Thy Trust?"
Prayers for the Journey
Invite the congregation to offer prayers for the journey: in
confession, expressing longing for God, for courage, and for discipleship.
The prayers may be interspersed with congregational singing. Some
suggestions include the following:
"Forgive Our Sins as We Forgive"
Sent On Our Journey
Scripture Reading: I Thessalonians 5:16–23
*Hymn "Lord Jesus, of You I Will Sing"
OR "Let Us Breathe One Fervent Prayer"
*Prayer of Blessing
*Sending Forth: "What to do in the darkness" see Lenten poem