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(This year Ash Wednesday is February 28.)
Righteous God: the ashes of Ash Wednesday remind us of our sinfulness and of our mortality.
The ashes of Ash Wednesday remind us of our short stay on earth. They bring solemn and sober echoes of funeral services we have attended: "earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." We are creatures of dust. We were destined by nature to return to dust, but now you have intervened on our behalf. There are no words to thank you for such favor or even to describe the force of love by which you call us from death to life at your side. Grant us the strength to live lives worthy of that calling.
Also, Lord, we know that the ashes of Ash Wednesday symbolize penitence -- our penitence both as individual Christians and as members of a congregation. We pray that, as we think upon Ash Wednesday, our consciences may be aroused, confronting us with sins we have not yet confessed, reminding us of sins we have not yet made amends for, showing us the faces of those whom we have wronged. Grant us courage to be specific in our confession of wrongs done and good deeds left undone. Then help us boldly to throw ourselves on your mercy, marking our foreheads with the cross of your Son while claiming, in faith and hope, the amazing love he showed for us all when he prayed, on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know what they do." Lord, help us to forgive others as you have forgiven us. Help us to strive for the protection and redemption of all people even as you have protected and redeemed us. Help us to love one another as you have loved us. In the name of Christ. Amen.
If you have questions or comments, email Tony Grant
Copyright 2000 York Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
Last Modified: 01/31/01