Ash Wednesday

Readings
First Scripture Reading
Joel 2: 12-18
Second Scripture Reading
2 Corinthians 5: 20 - 6: 2
Gospel Reading
Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18

Opening Prayer

Lord, you are calling us home – to ourselves and to you. Your ancient, yet ever new voice calls us from the alienation and exile we have created to a new wholehearted embrace. Breathe forth your Spirit to break down walls which harden, distort, and protect our hearts. Work quietly and powerfully within each of us, transforming us from the inside out. Help us not to get trapped by the externals of Lent. Rather, let our fasting, penitence and sacrifice be a response to the alluring call of your love. Discipline me to allow you to act, transform, embrace, and permeate me. Soften my heart and expand my soul. Let the powerful ways your whisper touches and enlivens my soul be our secret, my Beloved One.

God of love, we celebrate the gift of love and the people Your love gifts us with. Help us to be as self-emptying and generous as You are in the way we treat, respect, reverence, and appreciate the people who reflect Your Face and Presence to us.

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