26 February 2020                                                       Ash Wednesday

Collect of the Day

Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: create and make in us new and contrite hearts that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 

First Reading

Joel 2.1-2,12-17

1Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain!  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming, it is near –    2a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.  12Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13rend your hearts and not your clothing.  Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. 14Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain-offering and a drink-offering for the LORD, your God?  15Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16gather the people.  Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast.  Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy. 17Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep.  Let them say, ‘Spare your people, O LORD, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, “Where is their God?”’

 

Psalm   Psalm 51.1-18

1                 Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness; according to the abundance of your compassion blot out my offences.  Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin.  For I acknowledge my faults and my sin is ever before me.  Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, So that you are justified in your sentence and righteous in your judgement.  I have been wicked even from my birth, a sinner when my mother conceived me.  Behold, you desire truth deep within me and shall make me understand wisdom in the depths of my heart.  Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear of joy and gladness, that the bones you have broken may rejoice.  Turn your face from my sins and blot out all my misdeeds.  Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your holy spirit from me.  Give me again the joy of your salvation and sustain me with your gracious spirit; Then shall I teach your ways to the wicked and sinners shall return to you.  Deliver me from my guilt, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness.  O Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.  For you desire no sacrifice, else I would give it; you take no delight in burnt offerings.  The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 

 

Second Reading

2 Corinthians 5.20b-6.10

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

 

Gospel  Matthew 6.1-6,16-21

Jesus said to the disciples, 1‘Beware of practising 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.’ 

 

Post Communion Prayer

Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us both a sacrifice for sin and also an example of godly life: give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive these his inestimable gifts, and also daily endeavour to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above):

2 Corinthians 5.20b-6.10 ©  1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA.  Joel 2.1-2,12-17 ©  1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA.  Matthew 6.1-6,16-21 ©  1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA.  Psalm 51.1-18 ©  The Archbishops' Council 2000. Some material included in this service is copyright: