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Ash Wednesday Bulletin, Feb 14 2024




Veradale United Church of Christ

An Open & Affirming Congregation

Worshiping God in Christ – Welcoming All – Working for Justice & Peace

“No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!”

February 14, 2024 • 7:00 p.m. 

___________________________________________________________

6:45pm Taize Meditation 

 

7:00pm Worship Begins.

We worship on the unceded traditional territory of the Spokane, Cayuse, Umatilla, Walla Walla, Coeur d’Alene, and other tribes. We acknowledge the history of indigenous genocide, removal, and erasure that continues to this day.  We recognize the role that Christian communities played in these injustices, and we recommit ourselves to seeking more peaceful, just, and neighborly ways of sharing this land with all who call it home.

 

Gathering Psalm adapted from Psalm 51

All: Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from

my sin.

One: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right

spirit within me.

All: Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from

my sin.

One: Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a

willing spirit.

All: Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from

my sin.

 

Opening Prayer

Holy and merciful God, you know us better than we know ourselves.

And still, you love us. You recognize in us potentials that we have

denied. You hope in us. You understand that when we live in

relationship with you, more life is possible for all creation. Yet, we

are afraid. The demands of our lives keep us from trusting in you,

our neighbors, and ourselves. We seek to protect our lives and need

your mercy. For you alone are God. You alone are the Most High.

You alone have understanding and power. Help us to return, trusting

in you. We ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

Response Taize: Lord Jesus Christ, your light shines within us, Let not my doubts nor my darkness speak to me. Lord Jesus Christ, your light shines within us. Let my heart always welcome your love. (sung 3 times)

 

Community Prayer

One: Beloved God, we come to you this night with our hearts open to

your grace and love, hear us now as we pray.

 

(We will pass the singing bowl to those in-person. Hold the bowl, offer a prayer in words or silence. Say aloud, “Amen” and ring the bowl.  People on Zoom bring a bell of their own or after they say Amen, someone here will ring the singing bowl.)

 

Lord's Prayer

Please, pray in the translation and language you know or choose from

one of those found on page 9 in the hymnal.

 

Response: Amen, amen, amen. 812(NCH)

 

Offerings of the People 

What shall we add and/or “give up” for Lent to offer time with God

*Offering Hymn:  Taize:Where love and caring are there is God. Where love and caring are there is God.

 

*Dedication Prayer: Compassionate God, you know us as we are and love us completely. We offer to you our open minds, hearts, and souls. May our Lenten journey make the rough places in our souls smooth, the valleys of doubt in our minds raised up and the way of our hearts made into a highway that leads to you. Amen

 

Scripture Readings: Read by Diane Smith

Joel 2:1-2 

Blow 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—2 a 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.

12-17

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

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

 Between 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?’ ”

 

 

Matthew 6:1-6,

 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before others in order to be seen by them, for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“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. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“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. But 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.

16-21 “And whenever you fast, do not look somber, like the hypocrites, for they mark their faces to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so 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.

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

 

Message: Hearts Returned

 

Silence

Rite of Ashes and Oil

One: We come here today to open ourselves sincerely to God. With the assurance of God’s love and forgiveness, we can face the close examination of Lent and gain a new and deeper relationship with the Divine. It is in the assurance of Easter that we are able to make our

Lenten journey. To be whole is to be at peace with God, with our

neighbor, and with ourselves. The church has long recognized the

relationship between confession and wholeness. Being responsible for our choices, our actions, and our inactions is important step to becoming whole. It is something each one of us must do for ourselves. It is also something that we do together. As a community, we share each other’s brokenness and pain. The forgiveness comes from God. It is a gift.

Call to Confession

One: Sound the alarm amid the deep shadows of human conflict and sin.

Return to God with all your heart. Seek those life-changing opportunities

that God holds out to us every day of our live.

Prayer of Confession

Holy One, we open our hearts to you. See our brokenness. See how

we have not trusted in you. See our need for your direction and

healing. Show us your compassion. Heal us. Help us confront who we are and who you know we can be. Give to us the blessing of forgiveness. Give to us the freedom of repentance and transform our lives by the healing of our souls. We ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Silent Reflection

One: God forgives us:

All: O Majesty, O Magnificence, O Mystery, come!

Be the hammer, and break our indifference.

Be the sun, and splinter our shadows.

Be the wind, and scatter our despair.

Yea, in the dry country of our souls, let thy grace rain;

so that we take root in thee, and grow.

Make us trees strong in all seasons, bearing fruit,

giving shade to all the weariness

and shelter to them that are lost.

So we pray to the glory of Jesus Christ

who made the cross tree green and flourishing forever.

Amen.  (Arnold Kenseth, USA)

 

Prayer over the Ashes

One: God be with you.

All: And with you also.

One: Let us pray.

All: Gracious God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth

and stars. Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our

mortality and penitence, so we may remember that only by your

gracious gift are we given life everlasting; through Jesus Christ.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

Receiving of Ashs and Oil and lighting Candles at the Cross

Taize Meditation: (Recorded): Bless the Lord my soul, and bless God’s holy name. Bless the Lord my soul, who leads me into life.

- sung until everyone who wants to come forward has done so -

During this hymn, you are invited to come forward and as an ancient

sign of repentance, receive for yourself some of the ashes. As you

take these upon yourself you could say something like,” Forgive me,

God” or “I return to you, Loving God.” Then as a sign of forgiveness and

healing, you can receive an anointing with oil. As you are anointed,

you will hear words like, “God loves you and hopes in you. You are

forgiven.” And you might respond, “Thanks be to God.”

You are welcome to stand, sit, kneel at the cross for silent meditation.

 

Silent Reflection


*Benediction

Go forth into the world in peace. 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. The

Grace of Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the

Holy spirit, be with us all. Amen.

 

Be yourself.Grow in Christ.Live with compassion.

 

 

We leave in silence allowing those who want to stay a little longer to continue in meditation.

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