Blessing of the Ashes
O God, our maker and judge, you have created us from the dust of the earth and, because of our sin, we must return to dust: Grant that through the imposition of these ashes we may be bright to an awareness of our mortality, to true repentance, and trust in your life-giving grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer of Confession
L: God, you are Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.
P: You formed us from the earth and breathed life into our bodies. You walk among us and offer us your life. You call us together and breathe your Spirit through us.
L: You have made us in your image.
P: Now remind us that still, we are not God. For we confess that we have forgotten.
L: We have forgotten that it is your kingdom, not ours. We have forgotten to listen for your voice, so often drowned out by our own. We have forgotten that you call all creation to life and relationship, not rules and regulations.
L: We pray “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done” and yet we confess, O Lord, that we are very attached to our own wills.
P: We ask your forgiveness for the times we think we have all the answers. We confess that we have slammed the door, keeping others out, we have stood in the doorway monitoring who comes and goes, and sometimes we have barged right through others’ doors, caring little for the consequences. Forgive us, O God, and turn us again to your way. Fill us with your steadfast love, and lead us into life.
L: You call, O Lord, sometimes in a storm and sometimes in a silence, through your word written and proclaimed, through the voice of stranger and enemy and friend.
P: I confess that I have not always been an eager student of your word; I have talked more than I have listened in prayer, and that I might not recognize your voice in a crowd. I admit that I have followed other voices, and that my own voice has often been louder than yours. I have stood by the door, but not walked through. I have stood by the door, and kept others from walking through. I have stood by the door, calling people to walk my way rather than yours. Forgive me, O God, and turn me again to your way. Fill me with your steadfast love, and lead me into life.
L: You, Lord, are Healer, making wholeness where once there was brokenness. You offer a way of life that carries hope for all the world.
P: Yet we turn our eyes from a dying creation, ignoring your call to care. We admit that we choose what is easy, at the expense of the people and the planet you have created. We confess that we want the green pastures and still waters for ourselves, and we have set up systems in which some waste away while we simply waste. When our doors are unmarked, so only those in the know may enter, when our hearts are firmly locked against anything new, when our habits are closed and therefore shut others out, forgive us, O God, and turn us again to your way. Fill us with your steadfast love, and lead us into life.
L: We stand at the threshold of community; of grief; of hope; of repentance; of possibility; of fear; of forgiveness; of life.
Every day is filled with opportunities both missed and taken— to speak up, to speak out, to keep silent, to listen… to hope, to despair, to heal, to hurt, to help… to come in and to go out and to find pasture.
Act of Absolution
L: According to the sure promises of the Gospel, I declare unto
you that your sins are forgiven, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
P: According to the sure promises of the Gospel, we declare unto you that your sins are forgiven, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.