Ash Wednesday - 6 February 2008 - MS Black Watch

In our worship let us strip away the non-essential and the unimportant.
As we begin our journey into Lent, let us remember that God
knows us as we really are, and loves us as we really are.

We are starting out on the pathway into Lent.
We cannot clearly see the path, but we step out firmly in faith.
God is with us, and God goes before us.

For forty days and forty nights

Have mercy upon me, O God, in your great kindness,
In the fullness of your mercy,
blot out my offences.

Wash away all my guilt,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my faults,
and my sin is ever before me.

Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean,
wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Put a new heart in me, O God,
and give me a constant spirit.

Do not cast me away from your presence,
do not take your holy spirit from me.
O God, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

You desire no sacrifice, or I would give it,
you take no delight in burnt offerings.
The sacrifice you accept, O God, is a broken spirit,
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Reading: John 8: 2-11


A litany of confession

From lack of reverence for truth and beauty,
from a calculating or sentimental mind,
from going along with things that are
mean and ugly, and just plain bad,
Holy One, deliver us.

From cowardice that dares not question
nor dares face new insights,
from laziness that is too easily content
with half-truth or even falsehood,
and from arrogance that claims to know it all,
Holy One, deliver us.

From worship that doesn't reach the soul,
from all that is hollow or insincere,
from trite ideals and cheap pleasures,
from laughing at people rather than with them,
Holy One, deliver us.

From being pompous, or rude,
from cynicism about others,
from jumping to conclusions, and
from intolerance or cruel indifference,
Holy One, deliver us.

From selfishness which ignores others,
from self-indulgence and self-pity which are all about 'me',
from a token concern for people
who are poor, lonely or loveless,
Holy One, deliver us.

From confusing faith with good feeling,
or love with wanting to be loved,
or community with 'people like me',
or worship with church on Sundays,
or tradition with our comfort zone,
Holy One, deliver us.

God of love,
as in Jesus you gave yourself to us,
so may we give ourselves to you.
Keep our feet firmly in the path where Christ leads us,
so that we may be People of the Way,
the way that leads to life in all its fullness.

Accept now our praise to you;

Holy, Holy, holy,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

HYMN: O God who gives us life and breath

So may God bless us and unite us,
guide us and protect us,
teach us and inspire us -
and may we rest in the palm of God's hand,
now and always.