A Call to Worship
Ash Wednesday Year A 2011
Psalm 51: 1-17

Loving and Merciful God: In penitence we come to you.
We do recognise our own sin, our own weaknesses
We are weighed down by our sense of sinfulness.

God of unfailing love: We have failed God and ourselves.
We have failed God and in our relationships with others.
Even as we confess our sin, forgive and renew us O God.

Restoring God: Accept our sense of remorse, and remove
the stain of our sin, so that we can again experience your joy.
We gather as renewed, restored and forgiven people of God.
We give heartfelt thanks for God’s great and compassionate love. Amen.

Prayers of Confession
Ash Wednesday Year A 2011
Psalm 51: 1-17

O Lord our God, we gather to worship you as a
community of faithful people who need to confess
their combined sinfulness; but who are also individual
people who need to confess their own personal sin.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Merciful God, we each of us have the stains of
sin in our life, in our minds, and in our hearts,
because of our selfish and thoughtless actions.
Loving God, we want to be cleansed of these
stains. Some of those sin-stains are deeply ingrained
through years of sin and selfishness. Forgive us
of that pain-filled sin, as the memories of them
linger, and they come between us and our God.
Purify each of us from that ingrained sin
that comes between us and God.

Compassionate God, we give thanks that you never
ever cut yourself off from us, no matter how deeply
we sin, no matter how we fail to be true to you and
your teachings, and to your guiding in our lives.
We confess that what we want comes first for us,
regardless of the way our actions reflect on other people,
or how these desires affect our relationship with God.
Restore us again to the joy of an intimate relationship
with our God, so that then, we may also be able to
restore and renew our relationship with other people.
Restore us again to the joy of God’s
presence in our lives.

How to we respond to such a Generous God?
All God asks of us is that we offer our contrite
and remorseful hearts, minds and lives to God
for renewal; and in the service of our God in
our world, as such offerings will never be
rejected by our Patient and Forgiving God.
Broken hearted, we are made whole;
forgiven, we can share the ‘good news’ with others;
restored, we celebrate with joy and gladness.
Thanks be to our Merciful God. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Ash Wednesday Year A 2011
Psalm 51: 1-17

I come to you, Holy God, burdened by my sin, and my failure
to deal with the sin that lingers in my memory. No matter
how many times I hear the words: ‘Your sins are forgiven’
and I reply: ‘Thanks be to God’, the memory of that sin
still bothers me. Do I really believe that God forgives sin?
Sometimes, it seems to me that I do not believe it at all.

Creative pause: Do I really believe my sin is forgiven by God?

O God, help to learn to understand the difference between
regrets for past mistakes and errors of judgement in life,
and the forgiveness of my sin – that is - the wiping clean
away of those particular events through God’s merciful love!

Creative pause: Trusting in God’s merciful grace.

The concept of sin being a ‘stain’ or ‘blot’ on my life
is very real to me, and the idea that some sin-stains need
to be scrubbed until they are eradicated permanently
seems so true! Yet is that what God wants of me?
As far as I understand it, I do not have to scrub those
stain away. Instead, God desires that I feel appropriate
remorse and regret for allowing my sin to interfere
in the relationship of trust and love between God and
me; and God’s forgiveness of my sin removes all
the stains and barriers blocking that relationship.

Creative pause: Forgiveness restores relationships.

Lord, I want your joy and peace back in my mind and
heart again, because while I was always worrying about
my sinfulness, I could not receive those blessings. It is
only as I allow my load of sin to slide off my back and to
let it go forever, that I will know peace, joy and the
freedom God gifts to forgiven people.

Creative pause: Letting go of the stain of sin means joy, peace and freedom.

Unless stated otherwise, all Bible readings and extracts used in these weekly Prayers and Meditations are from
‘The New Revised Standard Version’ Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council
of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

*The additional weekly numbering is from the Revised COCU Indexing Scheme
COCU = ('Consultation on Church Union'); as it offers an easy sequential numbering
for the Revised Common Lectionary for the Church Calendar.

If any part of these Prayers and/or Meditations is used in shared worship, please provide
the following acknowledgement:
© 2011 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Used with permission.


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