Worship: Ash Wednesday Feb. 17, 2021

ZION UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

22 Gettysburg Street  Box 538

Arendtsville, Pennsylvania

Ash Wednesday

February 17, 2021

7:00 pm

Live Stream link:  Zion UCC Ash Wednesday Livestream – February 17 2021 at 7:00pm

Welcome to Zion and a special welcome to our visitors in these days of adjusting to a new normal in worship.  Because of the continuing concerns for the spread of the covid19 virus, we have chosen to live stream our worship services, suspending in person worship until we gain a clearer picture of how to gather together in the sanctuary to worship safely.  These are difficult times and even with the hope for a vaccine in the near future, it will be some time before enough people have the vaccine in order to effectively control covid19.  We ask for your patience and understanding and your faithful support of the church in these days of a new normal for all of us.  Let us continue to pray and to remain faithful, knowing that our God continues to reach out and to embrace us.  We sometimes need to be reminded that our God promises to be near to us in the most difficult days as well as the days when life seems easy for us.

As you follow along in the bulletin during live stream worship, please participate quietly when you come to the bold print.

 

PRELUDE

“Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound”, Mark Hayes/arr. D. Wagner, ©2013 Lorenz Publishing

 

TIME OF SHARING

 

CALL TO WORSHIP

Once again, as the season of Lent begins,

we are summoned by a gracious and merciful God.

We respond to God’s steadfast love, calling us into solemn assembly.

Let all the people gather for self-examination;

let all bow in awe before the One who creates.

We approach God in reverence and wonder,

rejoicing in the invitation to holy places.

Walk humbly before God in secret disciplines,

in prayer and fasting and giving.

We seek the One who grants us life,

upholding us with a willing spirit.

 

 

PRAYER OF INVOCATION

With eagerness, yet trembling, we return to you, O God,

not just as individuals, but as a family of faith. 

In this season of personal piety,

we would enter into corporate disciplines of prayer and praise and service. 

May our prayers be honest and full of care for others. 

May our praise involve emotions as well as intellect. 

Guide our service, that we may invest ourselves in ways that are worthy of your investment in us.

 

GATHERING HYMN “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”

Printed with permission under license CCLI #1149146

 

Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,

The shadow of a might rock within a weary land;

A home within the wilderness a rest upon the way,

From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.

 

Upon the cross of Jesus mine eyes at time can see,

The very dying form of One who suffered there for me;

And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;

The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

 

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place,

I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of his face;

Content to let the world go by, to know no gain or loss,

My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

 

TIME OF CONFESSION

You are invited to observe this season of Lent

through self-examination and penitence,

prayer and fasting, reading and meditating on the Word of God,

and works of love and witness.

Let us approach God with confidence,

and confess our sin with honesty and humility.

Lord, it is hard to think that we will die someday.

 We dream, we make plans, and talk about what we’ll do.

We don’t always think about what you want.

Instead, we make choices that we think are good for us.

But we are only here because you take care of us.

We confess that we forget we need you all the time.

We confess that we sometimes make choices that aren’t what you want.

We don’t know what is best for our lives.

Holy God help us to remember we live because of your grace.

Help us to do what you want us to do through Jesus, our Lord.

 

And now let us confess in silence those fears that keep us

from loving as Christ has loved us.

 

CONFESSION MEDITATION

“Holy, Holy, Holy”, Franz Schubert, public domain

 

WE PRAY FOR GOD’S MERCY

      Lord, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

 

ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS

Now is the day of salvation, a time for purity and kindness and love.

God is creating a new wholeness within and among us,

that we might serve truthfully and powerfully

amid the afflictions and hardships of this world.

Receive the joy that comes with the richness of God’s grace.

Accept your new life in Christ Jesus.

 

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – THE APOSTLES’ CREED

 

And now, having experienced once again the forgiving power of our loving God,

let us confess our faith using the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,

Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.

He descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven.

He is seated at the right hand of the Father,

And he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,

The communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,

The resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen.

 

VOCAL SOLO

“Jesus, Lover of my Soul”, Wesley, Parry, public domain

Fred M., soloist

 

OLD TESTAMENT LESSON FOR THE EVENING

Isaiah 58: 1-12

 

58:1 Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins.
58:2 Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.
58:3 “Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?” Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers.
58:4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.
58:5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
58:6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
58:7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
58:8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
58:9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
58:10 if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.
58:11 The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
58:12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.

 

 

EPISTLE LESSON FOR THE EVENING

II Corinthians 5: 20b to 6: 10

 

5:20b We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
6:1 As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain.
6:2 For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!
6:3 We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,
6:4 but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,
6:5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger;
6:6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love,
6:7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;
6:8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true;
6:9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see–we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed;
6:10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

 

 

GOSPEL READING FOR THE EVENING

St. Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-21

 

6:1 “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
6:2 “So 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.
6:3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
6:4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
6:5 “And 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.
6:6 But 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.
6:16 “And 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.
6:17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
6:18 so 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.
6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal;
6:20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.
6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

SILENT PRAYER AND PREPARATION

“Ask Me What Great Things I Know”, public domain

 

THE MESSAGE FOR ASH WEDNESDAY

 

THE LITURGY OF THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION

Gracious God, we praise you and give you thanks.

It is right to give our thanks and praise

We give thanks and praise for all that is good in the world.

For the love we call God, the creator of heaven and earth… we give thanks.

For the person we call Jesus, and his message of peace, justice, and inclusiveness… we give thanks.

For the renewing strength and freedom of the Spirit, always on the breath of life… we give thanks.

We give thanks for the love, peace, justice, generosity,

 strength and freedom that is God working in our midst.

Let us remember the tradition.

We remember, at the end of a journey, among friends, gathered around a table,

Jesus took bread, gave thanks for all the blessings in his life, and broke it.

We remember at the same table and gathered with the same friends,

Jesus poured a cup of wine, gave thanks,

and shared it with his friends, inviting them to drink.

Bread broken, cup full, Jesus set the table.

May the Spirit within us

be a source of healing and consolation.

May the Spirit within us

strengthen us when we feel weak, warm us when we are cold-hearted,

bend us when we are stubborn, move us when we are uncaring,

guide us in the way of love.

May the Spirit within us

Shine in all we do.

Bountiful God, at the feast of sacrifice, we ask you to bless us

and this bread and wine with the presence

of your Holy Spirit, that in our eating and drinking

we might share in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Through this meal, make us one with you. Nourish us for faithfulness in the

Church of the Redeemer you have sent to reconcile us to you and to one another.

 

THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION

 

SACRAMENTAL BLESSING

 

THE PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

God of our salvation, you have restored us to life,

you have brought us back again

 into your love by the triumphant death and resurrection of Christ. 

Continue to heal us as we go to live and work

 in the power of your Spirit, to your praise and glory.

 

8CLOSING HYMN  “Abide With Me”

Printed with permission under license CCLI #1149146

 

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide.

The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

 

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;

Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see.

O thou who changest not, abide with me.

 

I need thy presence every passing hour;

What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?

Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?

Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

 

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;

Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness.

Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?

I triumph still if thou abide with me.

 

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;

Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.

Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;

In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

 

COMMISSION AND BENEDICTION

As our worship ends, our service continues;

The Holy Spirit goes with us wherever we go.

By the grace of God, we will do what God intends,

with kindness, purity and genuine love.

May Lent be not an outer show but an inner discipline,

a time for spiritual growth and shared commitment.

We will fast and pray and give,

knowing that God who sees in secret will be with us.

 

CHIME MEDITATION

“Ah, Holy Jesus”, 1630, public domain

POSTLUDE

“God Be With You”, William Tomer, Lorenz Publishing Co.