Ash Wednesday Liturgy

I've had some people ask me to post some of the elements of liturgy that we used last night at our Ash Wednesday gathering. Here they are: 

CALL TO WORSHIP:

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.
At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.
And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert... (Mt.3:16-4:1)
We seek to follow you, Jesus. Lead us by your Spirit into a season of preparation and of growing faith. Amen.

Marked by Ashes by Walter Brueggemann

Ruler of the Night, Guarantor of the day . . .
This day — a gift from you.
This day — like none other you have ever given, or we have ever received.
This Wednesday dazzles us with gift and newness and possibility.
This Wednesday burdens us with the tasks of the day, for we are already halfway home
     halfway back to committees and memos,
     halfway back to calls and appointments,
     halfway on to next Sunday,
     halfway back, half frazzled, half expectant,
     half turned toward you, half rather not.
This Wednesday is a long way from Ash Wednesday,
   but all our Wednesdays are marked by ashes —
     we begin this day with that taste of ash in our mouth:
       of failed hope and broken promises,
       of forgotten children and frightened women,
     we ourselves are ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
     we can taste our mortality as we roll the ash around on our tongues.
We are able to ponder our ashness with
   some confidence, only because our every Wednesday of ashes
   anticipates your Easter victory over that dry, flaky taste of death.
On this Wednesday, we submit our ashen way to you —
   you Easter parade of newness.
   Before the sun sets, take our Wednesday and Easter us,
     Easter us to joy and energy and courage and freedom;
     Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.
   Come here and Easter our Wednesday with
     mercy and justice and peace and generosity.
We pray as we wait for the Risen One who comes soon.

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE

God of passionate love and zealous commitment,
It is Your kindness that has softened our hearts and led us to Your arms.
We praise and thank You, O Lord.
It is Your devotion to us that has given us the courage to commit ourselves to You.
We praise and thank You, O Lord.
It is Your invitation that has inspired us
to take upon us Your yoke, and in it find purpose, meaning and rest.
We praise and thank You, O Lord.
Receive again our offering of worship, of love and of our lives.
This is our sacrifice of praise for Your blessing and glory,
God of our hearts. Amen.

SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 51:1-17

PRAYER OF CONFESSION AND PREPARATION

Holy and Most Beautiful Lord,
We are humbled by Your compassion and mercy.
We recognize that within us is much that has hurt and offended You.
We acknowledge our faithlessness
and admit that we are undeserving of Your commitment to us.
But now, empowered by Your grace,
given to us through Jesus's life, death and resurrection,
We seek to renew our commitment, and consciously deepen our relationship with You.

We recognise, O Lord, that we are simply dust.
Remind us through these ashes of our dependence on You,
and Your devotion to us.
May we know the strength of Your Spirit as we seek to follow You;
May we know the discipline of Your love as we seek to draw nearer to You;
May we know the insight of Your wisdom as we seek to learn of You.
As we receive the ashes upon our foreheads,
may we know the joy of sharing with You in ministry, in suffering, in death and in life.
For Your glory and your kingdom's sake.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.

IMPOSITION OF ASHES

FINAL PRAYER

God of Eternal Love,
We have made our commitment to You,
and have started a new journey into purposeful growth. But, we know that if we are to remain faithful
we need Your help and Your strength.

So, we ask...
Teach us to pray with faith
and read Your Word with understanding.
Teach us to worship with passion and gather together with love.
Teach us to give generously, serve compassionately and use our time mindfully,
So that we may reflect Your goodness, and that others may discover Your grace through us.
In Jesus Name. Amen.