Trinity United Church of Christ
February 17, 2021 ~ 7:30pm
Ashes of Truth
Welcome and Intro
Leader: Remember that you are dust. And to dust you shall return. Repent and believe the gospel.
Gathering Music and Lighting of Altar Candle
Gathered Here in the Mystery of This Hour by Phil Porter
Gathered here in the mystery of this hour.
Gathered here in one strong body.
Gathered here in the struggle and the power.
Spirit draw near. (Repeat until directed to end)
Leader: We said the lament of life is gathered here. Let us stay with it in honesty and courage. Let us also stay with it in silence. Not very often do we sit in silence. Intentional silence that is. The next part of our worship tonight allows time for intentional silence. It may be come awkward. If it does, just pay attention to the awkwardness and let it be okay. O God, in this quiet place of prayer and humility before you, the tears of our regrets fall on the ashes of truth. We see the shadows and flickering light on the road and the hands of longing peoples reaching hopefully towards compassion and justice. We listen to the grief in the sighing of our planet as it groans and struggles for its life. And we hear, in our minds’ memories, reminder of many missed moments for the announcing of prophetic truth, when our courage and commitment failed us.
All: As life reaches out to hold us into good, we often let it pass, turn our faces from the costly road on which Christ walked.
(Time of silent reflection)
Leader: And now, O God, as your church, our hearts weep, when we remember the divine dreams and visions shining before us in Jesus the Christ. We remember our claiming of your name as the people of God and the many betrayals of the great hope to which we are called as your church in this day.
(Time of silent reflection)
Leader: We look at the cross and the light of your life in all the world, and own our claimings of faithfulness to you, Jesus Christ. We acknowledge that this longing is often reduced to ashes, and becomes a burnt sign of our lost aspirations.
All: In sadness we know who we wanted to be and who we really are.
Matthew 6: 5-6; 16-21
Leader: “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 God who is in secret; and your God who sees in secret will reward you.
16 “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 God who is in secret; and your God who sees in secret will reward you.
19 “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.
Blessing of the Ashes
Pastor Nathan: O God of life and death, be present now with us as we reflect on our mortality. May these ashes become the needed symbol of our repentance and reflection. May these ashes be a reminder to store our treasures in the realm of your presence come among us.
Imposition of Ashes
Pastor: With these words, I invite you to impose ashes in the sign of a cross on your foreheads “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Repent and believe the gospel.
Music Meditation Dust and Ashes Touch Our Face Ann Lipe, soloist
Prayer of Dedication
Stay with us now as we leave this place, O Christ. Dwell deeply within our souls that we may try again to go with you toward whatever lies before us in costly life.
All: Speak your saving truth within our lives and remind us that all our journeying is but a small glimpse of the grand hope which calls us on in your strength. This we pray in your faithful name. Amen.
Pastor Nathan: Now, In the gloomy places, the light of truth will be found. Go now with courage into that truth.
And may our lives be touched by grace, that Christ never leave us nor forsake us and the God who lights all life be known in all the earth as the One who loves us in our humble humanness. Amen.
Postlude O Sacred Head, Now Wounded Theresa Woody, instrumental