Knowing, Loving, Serving…
So the World Will Know Christ’s Love

02.17.21 Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday at Bethel UMC
February 17, 2021

WELCOME:  The beginning of Lent brings a new invitation—an invitation into a deeper life of faith, an invitation to renewed spirituality, and an invitation into deeper awareness of God and self.  Tonight’s worship service is designed to provide space for you to have some personal reflection and intention setting at the start of this Lenten Season, knowing that the more honest we are with our hopes for this season, the more meaningful this season can become. 

PREPARE YOUR HEART:   Take a few deep breaths in and out.
Repeat to yourself:  I am here. God is here. This space is holy ground. 

Creator God,
There is a rumbling in us that won’t let go.
It stirs in us like the wind stirs leaves—inviting us to move, drawing us forth. When we’re quiet, we know that rumble is the Holy Spirit, Dancing love awake in us.
So we’re here.
And we’re still. And we’re quiet.
And on this first day of Lent, we’re asking you to draw near.
As we hear your scripture read aloud, open the door for us to move.
Invite us in. Rumble us awake.
Gratefully we pray, AMEN. 

HOLY SCRIPTURE:  Genesis 3:19b
Make a list of 5-10 your person struggles and challenges. (This is the time to make use of the provided “doodle page” and/or your journal)
**For families with kids** Help them write their challenges, if needed. When you’re finished, display them in a visible place for the season of Lent. If it is difficult for them to think of challenges in their life, invite them to reflect on problems they see in the world that they hope to help change.

Many of you have received ash cross temporary tattoos from our church office. You may prepare to put on your cross now.  If you did not, you can draw a cross on a piece of paper with charcoal and press that to your skin, or get even more creative with watercolors or washable markers! Some of you may have burned up your sorrows in the liturgy of preparation we sent out yesterday, and if so, please collect those ashes now. 

Will you meet us
in the ashes,
will you meet us
in the ache
and show your face
within our sorrow
and offer us
your word of grace:That you are life
within the dying,
that you abide
within the dust,
that you are what
survives the burning,
that you arise
to make us new.And in our aching,
you are breathing;
and in our weeping,
you are here
within the hands
that bear your blessing,
enfolding us
within your love.
A Blessing for Ash Wednesday © Jan Richardson.

When the service is over we invite you to watch one (or both!) of the short videos shared to our Bethel Facebook Page. As you watch, write down 5-10 hopes you have for this Lenten season. Allow these videos to be encouragement for living life with intention. You can write your hopes in your journal or on your doodle page. 

BENEDICTION: God of open doors,
Open arms,
And open conversations,
We know
Deep in our souls
That you are forever inviting us in.
Again and again,
You invite us to take another step closer, Another step deeper,
Another step further,
In this journey of faith.
So with your invitation in our hands,
We pray for strength and wisdom.
Show us the next right step in this journey. We are here.
You are here.
This is holy ground.
May this holy Lenten journey begin
Once again.
Gratefully we pray,