February 17, 2021 – Ash Wednesday

You can follow the order of the service here or Download a PDF copy that you can print ahead of time.

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P: The immeasurable grace of Christ Jesus, the rich mercy of God, and the unity of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
C: And also with you.

Prayer of the Day

Gracious God, out of your love and mercy you breathed into dust the breath of life, creating us to serve you and our neighbors. Call forth our prayers and acts of kindness, and strengthen us to face our mortality with confidence in the mercy of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Lesson: A Reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes 2:12–26

12So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the one do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 13Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.

14The wise have eyes in their head,
but fools walk in darkness.

Yet I perceived that the same fate befalls all of them. 15Then I said to myself, What happens to the fool will happen to me also; why then have I been so very wise? And I said to myself that this also is vanity. 16For there is no enduring remembrance of the wise or of fools, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How can the wise die just like fools? 17So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

18I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me 19—and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? 23For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.

24There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; 25for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26For to the one who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner he gives the work of gathering and heaping, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

Gospel: A Reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew

Tissot The Pharisee and the publican Brooklyn

P: The holy gospel accoring to St. Matthew, the 6th chapter.
C: Glory to you, O Lord.

Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21

[Jesus said to the disciples:] 1Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5And 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. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16And 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. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

P: The Gospel of the Lord.
C: Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon: Pressing on to Know the Lord


Savior, When in Dust to You (v. 1 & 2)

ELW #601
1Savior, when in dust to you
low we bow in homage due;
when, repentant, to the skies
scarce we lift our weeping eyes;
oh, by all your pains and woe
suffered once for us below,
bending from your throne on high,
hear our penitential cry!
2By your helpless infant years,
by your life of want and tears,
by your days of deep distress
in the savage wilderness,
by the dread, mysterious hour
of the insulting tempter's pow'r,
turn, oh, turn a fav'ring eye;
hear our penitential cry!

Invitation to Lent


P: Blessed be the holy Trinity, one God, who brings us safely through the sea, who gives us water from the rock, who leads us into the land of milk and honey.
C: Amen.

P: Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.

Silence is kept for reflection.

P: Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal,
C: Have mercy on us.

P: For self-centered living, and for failing to walk with humility and gentleness:
C: Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

P: For longing to have what is not ours, and for hearts that are not at rest with ourselves:
C: Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

P: For misuse of human relationships, and for unwillingness to see the image of God in others:
C: Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

P: For jealousies that divide families and nations, and for rivalries that create strife and warfare:
C: Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

P: For reluctance in sharing the gifts of God, and for carelessness with the fruits of creation:
C: Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

P: For hurtful words that condemn, and for angry deeds that harm:
C: Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

P: For idleness in witnessing to Jesus Christ, and for squander-ing the gifts of love and grace:
C: Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

P: In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for his sake God forgives us all our sins. Through the Holy Spirit God cleanses us and gives us the power to proclaim the mighty acts of the one who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. As a called and ordained minister of the church of Christ, and by his authority, I therefore declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
C: Amen.

Please mark yourself with the sign of the Cross.

Prayers of Intercession

P: Lord, in your mercy,
C: hear our prayer.


P: Blessed are you, O God of the universe. Your mercy is everlasting and your faithfulness endures from age to age.

Praise to you for creating the heavens and the earth. Praise to you for saving the earth from the waters of the flood. Praise to you for bringing the Israelites safely through the sea. Praise to you for leading your people through the wilderness to the land of milk and honey. Praise to you for the words and deeds of Jesus, your anointed one. Praise to you for the death and resurrection of Christ. Praise to you for your Spirit poured out on all nations.

In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me. With this bread and cup we remember our Lord's Passover from death to life as we proclaim the mystery of faith:
C: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

P: O God of resurrection and new life: Pour out your Holy Spirit on us and on these gifts of bread and wine. Bless this feast. Grace our table with your presence.
C: Come, Holy Spirit.

P: Reveal yourself to us in the breaking of the bread. Raise us up as the body of Christ for the world. Breathe new life into us. Send us forth, burning with justice, peace, and love.
C: Come, Holy Spirit.

P: With your holy ones of all times and places, with the earth and all its creatures, with sun and moon and stars, we praise you, O God, blessed and holy Trinity, now and forever.
C: Amen.

Lord's Prayer

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 trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.


Prayer After Communion

P: Tender and merciful one, at your feast, you fed us who brought nothing, turning our emptiness into joy. Filled with you abundant grace, send us now to be ministers of reconciliation, mending broken hearts, working for justice, and striving for peace among all people, in the name of Jesus Christ.
C: Amen.


P: God, who fills the creation with abundance, Christ who spreads his arms in forgiveness, Holy Spirit who draws ever near to us, bless you and bring you to life everlasing.
C: Amen.


P: Go forth into the world to serve God with gladness; be of good courage; hold fast to that which is good; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honor all people; love and serve God, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.
C: Thanks be to God.

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