Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ash Wednesday

Lord, we remember the depth of your love for us,
and we repent of our half-hearted discipleship.

We have been called to deny ourselves:
forgive us for putting self-interest
before the interest of your kingdom;
forgive us that Christ's Lordship in our hearts
has been challenged by our ambition, our appetites,
our desires, our needs;
forgive us for the times when self-interest
hindered our care for others.

Lord, we have been called to carry our cross:
forgive us for complaining when it has weighed heavily upon us;
forgive us that, having received so much,
we have sacrificed so little;
forgive us for the limits we have set to Christian love;
forgive us.

Isaiah 58:6-9

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
   and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
   and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
   and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
   and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
   and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
   and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
   you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.'

Lord Jesus Christ
you have walked where we walk
and now help us in our weakness:
blessed be your name.

Lord Jesus Christ
you have been tempted as we have
and now you come to help us in our danger:
blessed be your name.

Lord Jesus Christ,
you have suffered for us
and now help us when we suffer:
blessed be your name.

Lord of Lent, come to your Church
and ask us the hard questions.
Are we faithfully proclaiming your Gospel?
Are we doing he work of justice?
Have we welcomed the weak
and given prominence to the poor?

Come to your Church
and forgive us our sins.
Create in us a pure heart O God
and renew a steadfast spirit within us.

Challenge the idols we have raised
and destroy them.
Help us to be truthful in all things.
Sweep away pride and arrogance
and humble us to be servants in the image of your your Son.

2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he 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! We are putting no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see-- we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Matthew 6:-6,16-21

Jesus said, "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.
"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.
"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. 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."

Lord, lead us into the wilderness
that we may meet you.
Help us put aside our business and stress
and to rediscover silence.
Help us to listen to your voice, wherever you may be speaking.

Lord, teach us to pray.
Through prayer, lead us into a deeper communion with you
and nurture within us
a greater concern for you world.

In silence and prayer
help us find you
and to be found by you,
that we might be remade
in the likeness of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.

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