Ash Wednesday Service: 17 February 2021

For worship you will need communion elements from your home, something of the bread family and wine or fruit juice. There are also instructions in the service for marking your own forehead with a cross of remembrance.

Pastor Chris Lee

Order of Worship for Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021


On Ash Wednesday we begin our forty-day journey toward Easter with a day of fasting and repentance. Marking our foreheads with dust, we acknowledge that we die and return to the earth. At the same time, the dust traces the life-giving cross indelibly marked on our foreheads at baptism. While we journey through Lent to return to God, we have already been reconciled to God through Christ. We humbly pray for God to make our hearts clean while we rejoice that “now is the day of salvation.” Returning to our baptismal call, we more intentionally bear the fruits of mercy and justice in the world.

Confession and Forgiveness

All may make the sign of the cross, the sign marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.

Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God, the keeper of the covenant, the source of steadfast love, our rock and our redeemer. Amen.

God hears us when we cry, and draws us close in Jesus Christ. Let us return to the one who is full of compassion.

Fountain of living water,

pour out your mercy over us. Our sin is heavy, and we long to be free. Rebuild what we have ruined and mend what we have torn. Wash us in your cleansing flood. Make us alive in the Spirit to follow in the way of Jesus, as healers and restorers of the world you so love.


Beloved, God’s word never fails. The promise rests on grace: by the saving love of Jesus Christ, the wisdom and power of God, your sins are ☩ forgiven, and God remembers them no more. Journey in the way of Jesus. Amen.

Opening Hymn: ELW 319- “O Lord, throughout These Forty Days,” verses 1, 2, & 4.

Prayer of the Day

Almighty and ever-living God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and honest hearts, so that, truly repenting of our sins, we may receive from you, the God of all mercy, full pardon and forgiveness through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


First Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:20b–6:10

The ministry of the gospel endures many challenges and hardships. Through this ministry, God’s reconciling activity in the death of Christ reaches into the depths of our lives to bring us into a right relationship with God. In this way, God accepts us into the reality of divine salvation.

20bWe 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.
6:1As 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, labors, 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 honor and dishonor, 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

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus commends almsgiving, prayer, and fasting, but emphasizes that spiritual devotion must not be done for show.

Jesus said to the disciples: 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
19“Do 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.”

Sermon: Pastor Chris Lee

Hymn of the Day: ELW 326- “Bless Now, O God, the Journey,” verses 1 & 2.

Imposition of Ashes

Imposition of Ashes: ELW 592- “Just As I Am, without One Plea,” verses 1 & 3. Vocalists: Miriam Anderson & Pam Edwards.

Prayers of Intercession

Relying on the promises of God, we pray boldly for the church, the world, and all in need.

O God, you call your church to be ministers of reconciliation throughout the world. Inspire your church in its proclamation of the gospel and guide its ministries to build up the body of Christ. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

O God, you created the earth and all its inhabitants and you declared that it is good. Protect mountains and valleys, animals and plants, and direct us to be good stewards of all you have made. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

O God, you desire peace. Direct governments and leaders to work for the well-being of all people and raise up advocates to speak and serve on behalf of the downtrodden. Lord, in your mercy.

hear our prayer.

O God, you are our hope in the midst of despair, our help in the midst of sorrow, and our consolation in the midst of affliction. Grant comfort to all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit especially Scott Holtan; Kayli Bird; Wanda Esping; Wayne Esping; Patrick Esping; Ricky Lindquist; Helen Schubert; Mariah Pearson; and Dan Wolever, and support caregivers who attend to all in need. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

O God, you are love, and you call us to love one another. Accompany with your grace those journeying toward baptism and call us all to repentance as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

O God, you are our life and our salvation. We give you thanks for the righteous who have died in faith especially Pastor Jane McChesney. Inspire us by their example to proclaim your steadfast love. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We entrust ourselves and all our prayers to you, O faithful God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Great Thanksgiving

The Lord’s Prayer

Communion Anthem: ELW 793- “Be Thou My Vision.” Violin: Kristin Stambaugh.

Prayer after Communion

God of steadfast love, at this table you gather your people into one body for the sake of the world. Send us in the power of your Spirit, that our lives bear witness to the love that has made us new in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.



You are what God made you to be: created in Christ Jesus for good works, chosen as holy and beloved, freed to serve your neighbor. God bless you ☩ that you may be a blessing, in the name of the holy and life-giving Trinity.


Sending Hymn: ELW 811- “On My Heart Imprint Your Image.”


Go in peace. Share the good news.

Thanks be to God.

Link to worship service on Facebook:

Image credits: Ash Wednesday, by Gini George on Pixabay and Parish House backyard in snow (coyote tracks) by Therese Guise.

Music credits:

Pianist: Pam Edwards. Vocalist: Miriam Anderson. Violin: Kristin Stambaugh.

“O Lord, throughout These Forty Days.” Text: based on Claudia F. Hernaman, 1838 – 1898; para. Gilbert E. Doan Jr., b. 1930. Music: A. Davisson, Kentucky Harmony, 1816; arr. Theodore A. Beck, 1929 – 2003. Text copyright 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship, admin. Augsburg Fortress. Arr. copyright 1969 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Permission to podcast/stream and print the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.

“Bless Now, O God, the Journey.” Text: Sylvia G. Dunstan, 1955 – 1993. Music: Welsh tune, 19th century. Text copyright 1991 GIA Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved. Permission to podcast/stream and print the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.

“Just As I Am, without One Plea.” Text: Charlotte Elliott, 1789 – 1871. Music: William B. Bradbury, 1816 – 1868. Public domain.

“Be Thou My Vision.” Text: Irish, 8th cent.; vers. Eleanor H. Hull, 1860 – 1935, alt.; tr. Mary E. Byrne, 1880 – 1931. Music: Irish traditional. Public domain.

“On My Heart Imprint Your Image.” Text: Thomas H. Kingo, 1634 – 1703; tr. Peer O. Stromme, 1856 – 1921, alt.. Music: Johann B. Konig, 1691 – 1758. Public domain.

Sundays and Copyright 2021 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Reprinted/ streamed with permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS006904. Duplication in any form is prohibited without permission or valid license from the copyright administrator.