Ash Weds 17/2/21

Ash Wednesday service on ZOOM at 10.30am to join us email 

A Service of Ash Wednesday


Leader   The tax collector would not even look up to 
heaven, but said: ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’


Hymn    Forty days and forty nights



Friends, we join together with Christians of all tradition at the beginning of this season of Lent, as we prepare ourselves for the remembrance of our Lord’s passion and death, and the celebration of his glorious resurrection.  It is a time for personal reflection on our lives; for sorrowing over our sins and honest repentance; for receiving gladly God’s promise of forgiveness in Jesus Christ and committing ourselves with fresh resolve to following his way.  As we do this in the coming days. we pray that our faith may be strengthened and our devotion deepened.

In our observation of this time of preparation, we spend time in prayer and fasting; we may read and meditate on God’s word in the Scriptures; we may discipline ourselves by laying aside familiar comforts in order to focus more clearly on our walk with Christ.  We pray now for God’s help as we being our Lenten journey.


All          Loving God, we come to you,
not knowing how or what to pray;
but bringing you the deepest longings 
of our hearts,
which mere words cannot express.
You know our thoughts
before they find shape,
our speech before it comes to our lips,
our intentions before our hands give them form.
Search us this day, O God, and test us
to remove any wickedness within us
and ally our anxious thoughts.
Give us discernment as we meditate on your Word,
give us peace as we receive your forgiveness,
give us joy as we deepen our life in you,
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Leader   O Lord my God, I cried to you for help and 
       you healed me.

All          Sing to the Lord, and praise his holy name.



The Collect for Ash Wednesday

Leader   Holy God,
our lives are laid open before you;
rescue us from the chaos of sin
and through the death of your Son
bring us healing and make us whole
in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Hymn    Jesus, lover of my soul


Reading       Micah 6: 3 - 8


Psalm 51      PSALM 51 - A Prayer for Cleansing - YouTube


Reading        Luke 18: 9 - 14


An Address for Ash Wednesday


If we are honest, most of us know the right way to do whatever the task we have in hand is.  There might be other ways of doing a task, but ours is the right way.

The Pharisee in today’s parable certainly knew the right way to worship God.  He knew it wasn’t just for ‘Sundays’.  He knew that to worship God he had to live well the rest of the week; fasting regularly and giving a 10th of all his income.  Doing this and showing up to worship at the Temple regularly and he would please God.  His way was the right way.

Not so, Jesus tells us.  The Pharisee might look down on the tax collector, but God doesn’t.  This is a parable; a story Jesus told to help us learn about God.  The tax collector has no backstory, but generally speaking tax collectors were a pretty corrupt lot, lining their own pockets by charging higher taxes than those set by the Roman Empire and pocketing the difference.

The tax collector knows he is not worthy of God’s attention.  He knows he hasn’t followed the code for living taught by the Pharisees.  He knows he does not deserve God’s attention, and so he comes to worship as he is.  He does not know the right way, and so he comes as he is in honesty and humility.

This, Jesus tells us, is all God asks of any of us.  

You may know the ancient Jesus Prayer of the Eastern Orthodox Church resonates down the centuries.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Softly repeated over and over, often with the use of a rosary, it is the many times a day prayer of the Eastern Orthodox Church today just as it has been for two thousand years.

This ever fresh, ever appropriate prayer traces its roots deep into the encounters Jesus had during his earthly ministry.

It is the prayer of the tax collector, all too aware of his need of God’s mercy.  God be merciful to me a sinner.  Which one of us cannot fail to add our own cry: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us to the prayers of the Christian centuries.  If we never pray another prayer, but simply repeat this ancient prayer, we will have a prayer life which is rich beyond imagining.

Like the tax collector in today’s reading and the saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church down the ages, we stand in need of God’s mercy and grace.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.  As John Pridmore so succinctly puts it, here is a prayer for Western sinners, as well as Eastern saints.

Today, on Ash Wednesday, we remember again, our need of God’s mercy.  we come, aware of our need to come to God as we are, in humility, aware of our many faults.  Conscious that all God ever asks of us is that we ‘do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.’

S Anne Lawson



Hymn    Lord Jesus think on me


Liturgy of Penitence

Leader   Jesus says:
‘If you obey my commands you will remain in my love.’  
Aware of our failure to keep them, we listen again to the commandments God has given, that they may be written more clearly upon our hearts.

Leader   God says:
‘I am the Lord your God.
You are to have no gods other than me.’
Lord, we have not loved you
with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

All          Lord, forgive us.

Leader   ‘You shall not make any idol for yourself.’
Lord, we have not worshipped you 
in spirit and in truth.

All          Lord, forgive us.

Leader   ‘You shall not misuse the name
of the Lord your God.’
Lord, we have not worshipped you acceptably, with reverence and awe.

All          Lord, forgive us.

Leader   ‘Remember the Lord’s Day, and keep it holy.’
Lord, we have not entered into your presence or drawn near to you with sincere hearts, and in full assurance of faith.

All          Lord, forgive us.

Leader   ‘Honour your father and mother.’
Lord, we have not honoured one another,
or looked first to the interests of others.

All          Lord, forgive us.

Leader   ‘You shall not commit murder’.
Lord, we have not been reconciled to one another, nor overcome evil with good.

All   Lord, forgive us.              

Leader   ‘You shall not commit adultery’
Lord, we have not been pure and blameless in thought or deed.

All          Lord, forgive us.

Leader   ‘You shall not steal’
Lord, we have not been honest in our dealings, or generous towards those in need.

All          Lord, forgive us.

Leader   ‘You shall not bear false witness.’
Lord, we have not always spoken the truth in love.

All          Lord, forgive us.

Leader   ‘You shall not covet anything belonging to someone else.’
Lord, we have not always been generous or willing to share.

All          Lord, forgive us,
and write your law of love on our hearts
that we may love you with all our heart
and our neighbours as ourselves.


Confession and Absolution

Leader   God our Father,
you are mighty to save,
but we are weak and sinful,
and have fallen away from your presence.
in your great mercy

All          forgive us, O Lord.

Leader   God our Father,
you are faithful in every way,
but we are fickle and changeable,
and have put our trust in this passing world.
In your great mercy,

All          forgive us, O Lord.

Leader   God, our Father,
your are gracious and forgiving,
but we are critical and self-righteous,
and have not turned to you
in penitence and faith.
In your great mercy,

All          forgive us, O Lord.

Leader   God our Father,
you are eternal and changeless,
but we are earthbound and worldly,
and have not responded
to your forgiving love.
in your great mercy,

All          forgive us, O Lord.

All          forgive us, O Lord.

All          Wash away our sin and guilt
and help us to see more clearly
what you would have us be,
for the glory of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Leader   Almighty God,
whose mercy is on all
who sincerely seek his face,
grant you pardon for all your sins,
time for to turn to him and repent
and strength to walk in his way
of peace and freedom,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All          Amen.



Prayers of Intercession

Leader  Let us pray for our own needs and for the needs of others,

following the pattern which Jesus gave

when he taught us to pray to God our Father.

Through our love of the countryside,

through our care for animals,

through our respect for property and tools:

All            Father, hallowed be your name.

Leader     On our farms and in our homes,

in our colleges and schools,

where machinery is made,

and where policy is planned:

All            Father, your kingdom come.

Leader     By our seeking your guidance,

by our keeping your commandments,

by our living true to our consciences:

All            Father, your will be done.

Leader     For the millions who live in poverty and hunger,

for our own needs, and the requirements of our neighbours,

by cooperation, sympathy and generosity:

All            give us today our daily bread.

Because we have broken your commandments,

doing what we ought not to do and neglecting

what we ought to do:

All            forgive us our sins.

Leader     If any have injured us by injustice, double dealing or exploitation:

All            we forgive those who sin against us.

Leader     When prosperity lulls us to false security,

or hard times prompt us to despair,

When success makes us boastful,

or failure makes us bitter:

All            lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

Leader     In the assurance of faith,

in the confidence of hope,

in the will to serve,

help us to love Christ as Lord,

and our neighbour as ourselves.

All            for the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and for ever.



Hymn    Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us


Final Prayer

All          Lord, when we are tempted,
to put our trust in material things,
help us to remember
that we live by the words of life
that come from you.
When we are tempted to put our trust
in religious rituals and practices,
help us to remember
that love for you comes first.
When we are tempted
to seek power and acclaim,
help us to remember that you alone
are worthy of worship and honour.


The Blessing

Leader   May God the Father open our minds
to learn more of his grace.

All          Amen.

Leader   May God the son open our hearts
to respond to his love.

All          Amen.

Leader   May God the Holy Spirit open our hands
to worship and serve him.

All          Amen.

Leader   And the blessing of God Almighty…

The link for Psalm 51 is: PSALM 51 - A Prayer for Cleansing - YouTube




Forty days and forty nights Forty Days And Forty Nights - YouTube

Jesus, Lover of my Soul ABERYSTWYTH-JESU, LOVER OF MY SOUL - YouTube

Lord Jesus think on me Lord Jesus Think on Me - YouTube

Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us MANNHEIM LEAD US, HEAVENLY FATHER, LEAD US - YouTube