3/10/19 First Sunday of Lent and Imposition of Ashes


First Sunday of Lent + Imposition of Ashes



“Lent” comes from an old English word for springtime, perhaps connected with the lengthening of days in this time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The season of Lent is a time for growth in faith— through prayer, spiritual discipline, and self-examination in preparation for the commemoration of the dying and rising of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In ancient Christian practice, Lent was a time of preparation for the celebration of Baptism at Easter. In many churches, it remains a time to equip and nurture candidates for Baptism or confirmation, and for the whole community of faith to reflect deeply on the theme of baptismal discipleship. Reconciliation is a key theme in the season of Lent—reconciliation with God and with one another through the grace of Jesus Christ,

 Lent is a period of forty days—like the flood of Genesis, Moses’ sojourn at Sinai, Elijah’s journey to Mount Horeb, Jonah’s call of repentance to Nineveh, and Jesus’ time of testing in the wilderness. The Sundays in Lent are not counted among the forty days, as every Lord’s Day is a celebration of Christ’s resurrection.

 Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent with a public act of confession. Acknowledging that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, we repent and return to our loving creator. Acutely aware of our failure and frailty, we express our utter reliance on God’s saving grace. Ash Wednesday developed in the medieval period as a time when penitent sinners were presented for church discipline during the season of Lent, to be reconciled with the community of faith on Maundy Thursday. Ash Wednesday also came to be the occasion for new believers to enroll in the catechumenate, a period of preparation for baptism at Easter. For those who undertake spiritual disciplines, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten fast.

Ashes are an ancient symbol of repentance, sorrow, and sacrifice. Traditionally, the ashes for this service are made from the palm branches of the previous year; thus the ashes and palms together frame the season of Lent.


PRELUDE: Out of the Depths- Lani Smith




OPENING SENTENCES                             (John 3:17; Ps. 46:1–3)

God sent Christ into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

God’s love endures forever.

God is our refuge and strength, a present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though the waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

God’s love endures forever.



Almighty God, you despise nothing you have made and you forgive the sins of all who trust in you. Create in us new and contrite hearts, that truly repenting of our sins, and acknowledging our brokenness, we may receive from you, the God of all mercy, full pardon and forgiveness; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


HYMN # 712 As Those of Old Their Firstfruits Brought



ALL SING HYMN # 547 Go, My Children, With My Blessing (verse 1)



Merciful God, your word is our way of truth and life. Create in us hearts that are clean and put your Holy Spirit within us, so that we may receive your grace and declare your praise forever; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


FIRST READING: Deuteronomy 26:1-11

The spring harvest festival, called the Feast of Weeks, provides the setting for this reading. This festival celebrates the first fruits of the produce of the land offered back to God in thanks. In this text, worshipers announce God’s gracious acts on behalf of Israel.


1When you have come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, 2you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. 3You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, “Today I declare to the LORD your God that I have come into the land that the LORD swore to our ancestors to give us.” 4When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the LORD your God, 5you shall make this response before the LORD your God: “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. 6When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, 7we cried to the LORD, the God of our ancestors; the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. 8The LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; 9and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O LORD, have given me.” You shall set it down before the LORD your God and bow down before the LORD your God. 11Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house.


OFFERING OF MUSIC: Lenten Bells- Barbara Kinyon


SECOND READING: Romans 10:8b-13

Paul reminds the Christians at Rome of the foundation of their creed, the confession of faith in the risen Christ as Lord.


                8b“The word is near you,

on your lips and in your heart”

(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”


GOSPEL: Luke 4:1-13

After being filled with the Holy Spirit at his baptism, Jesus is led in the wilderness. Through his responses to the temptations of the devil he defines what it means to be called “the Son of God.”


1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” 4Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”

5Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8Jesus answered him, “It is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God,

and serve only him.’”

9Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10for it is written,

‘He will command his angels concerning you,

to protect you,’


‘On their hands they will bear you up,

so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

12Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.





Beloved people of God:

every year at the time of the Christian Passover
we celebrate our redemption

through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration
and to renew our life in the paschal mystery.

We begin this holy season

by acknowledging our need for repentance,
and for the mercy and forgiveness
proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We begin our journey to Easter with the sign of ashes.

This ancient sign speaks of the frailty and uncertainty
of human life,

and marks the penitence of this community.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ,

to observe a holy Lent

by self-examination and penitence,
by prayer and fasting,

by works of love,

and by meditating on God’s word.

Now let us bow before God, our creator and redeemer,
and confess our sin.


A time of silence is kept for reflection and self-examination.


PSALM 51. HYMN # 421 Have Mercy, God, Upon My Life


LITANY OF PENITENCE                                    (See Ps. 85:4, 7; Ps. 69:16, 18)

Holy and merciful God,

we confess to you and to one another,
and to the whole communion of saints
in heaven and on earth,

that we have sinned by our own fault
in thought, word, and deed,

by what we have done,

and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart,
and mind, and strength.

We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.

Have mercy on us, O God.

We have not listened to your call to serve as Christ served us.
We have not been true to the mind of Christ.

We have grieved your Holy Spirit.

Have mercy on us, O God.

We confess to you, O God, all our past unfaithfulness.
For the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience in our lives,
have mercy on us, O God.

For our self-indulgent appetites and ways
and our exploitation of other people,
have mercy on us, O God.

For our anger at our own frustration

and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves,

have mercy on us, O God.

For our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts,
and our dishonesty in daily life and work,

have mercy on us, O God.

For our negligence in prayer and worship,

and our failure to commend the faith that is in us,

have mercy on us, O God.

Accept our repentance, O God,
for the wrongs we have done.

For our neglect of human need and suffering
and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,
have mercy on us, O God.

For all false judgments,

for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors,
and for our prejudice and contempt

toward those who differ from us,

have mercy on us, O God.

For our waste and pollution of your creation

and our lack of concern for those who come after us,

have mercy on us, O God.

Restore us, O God of our salvation,

and show us your steadfast love.

Turn to us in your mercy
and redeem us.


IMPOSITION OF ASHES                                                        (Gen. 3:19)

Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth. May these ashes be for us a sign of our mortality and penitence, for it is only by your gracious gift are we given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.


People are invited to come forward to receive the imposition of ashes.

During the imposition, suitable hymns or psalms may be sung, or silence may be kept. A worship leader marks the forehead of each person with the ashes, using the following words:


Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Amen.



Circle- words & music by Allen Stone

Time, what’s with all this time? The world rotates as I fall behind. Change, what’s with all this change? Years go by but I stay the same. Fear, what’s with all this fear? I push back but it always stays here. Pace, how can I keep this pace? The damage done is now taking shape.

Inside of this circle, there are no corners to hide; every line I follow leads me back inside. Gravity pulls me from the center every time.

Hope, where did I lose my hope? Life moves quick when you’re quick to choke. Faith, where can someone find faith? The damage done is now taking shape.

Inside of this circle, there are no corners to hide; every line I follow leads me back inside. Gravity pulls me from the center every time.


After all who desire ashes have received them, the confession concludes with the following words:


Accomplish in us, O God, the work of your salvation,

that we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of our Savior,

bring us with all your saints to the joy of Christ’s resurrection.



Seeking the grace, mercy, and love of Almighty God, we offer our prayers for the church, for people in need, and for all of creation.


A brief silence.


Holy and steadfast God, keep your word near to us, planting it in our hearts and communities. Make it blossom into proclamation for all people to receive. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.


As you give your Spirit freely, so also give bread that sustains every living thing. Graciously feed hungry souls and hungry stomachs with your bountiful provision. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.


Stir up courage among your people to resist oppressive powers and to lead people into freedom as you did through Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, whom we commemorate today. Shine the light of your justice through their work. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.


Hold tightly those who grow weary in their struggle with addiction or temptation (especially). By your strength bear them up to live fully in your presence. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.


Teach us the stories of our faith by heart. As you accompanied our ancestors in their uncertainty, so guide us confidently into the future. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.


Here other intercessions may be offered.


When we struggle and are tested, redeem us by the endurance of Christ. Give us steadfast faith to strive for your glory until we witness its fullness, especially as we commemorate this week: Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth; Sophronius; James Reeb; Bunji Suzuki; Ansovinus; Leobinus of Chartres; Matilda; Roger Williams; and Julian of Anazarbus. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.


Reveal your will as you receive our prayers, and conform our ways to your ways; through the saving work of Jesus Christ our Lord.


INVITATION TO DISCIPLESHIP & STEWARDSHIP  (Matt. 6:21)                   

Jesus says: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Let us offer our lives to the Lord.


During this time of offering, you are encouraged to take a moment to be in prayer with God and reflect on what is meant to be a student or disciple of Jesus Christ. The Gospel understanding of discipleship is a way of being in the world that affects every relationship. Disciples shape one another according to the action of the Spirit in their lives. The energy of the disciples flows from faith in what is unseen yet believed. At its very core, discipleship is a call to a love so radical that it never gives up on God, one’s neighbor, or one’s self. How is God calling you to use your gifts, talents, time and resources to love radically, especially as a part of this worshipping community?


Offerings will be collected by the ushers in the Narthex (the entrance hall) following worship. If you would like to make an offering using your smart phone or tablet, go to www.SouthminsterChurch.org and click on the Donate link.



The Lord be with you. And also with you.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

God of compassion,

we praise you that you look upon our frail lives
with love and understanding,

and that you desire for us all
new life in Jesus Christ.

We are overwhelmed by your love,

which goes to the cross for us,
endures the grave,

and leads us to new life.
By your Spirit,
strengthen our souls

to be brave and bold in Christ’s service.
Take our offerings,

and use them and us for your purposes,
in the name of Jesus Christ,

our crucified and risen Lord, as we pray:

Our Father

who 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 debts,

as we forgive our debtors;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom

and the power

and the glory, forever.


HYMN # 165 The Glory of These Forty Days




POSTLUDE: Erhalt Uns, Herr- 16th century German, setting by Michael Praetorius


NOTES: Order of service and content is in accord with the Presbyterian Church’s Directory for Worship. Prayers are from the Sundays and Seasons (Year C), Glory to God Hymnal on-line, and the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship (2018).



The Melodious Minsters

Quinn Balz





10                Harriet Tubman (c. 1820– 1913)

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)

11                Sophronius (d. 639)

James Reeb (1927– 1965)

12                Bunji Suzuki (1885– 1946)

13                Ansovinus (d. 840)

14                Leobinus [Lubin] of Chartres (d. 558)

Matilda (d. 896)

15                Roger Williams (c. 1603– 1683)

16                Julian of Anazarbus (d. 302)


Presbyterian Church. Book of Common Worship . Presbyterian Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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