Ash Wednesday Confession, NL Year 2

Prayer of Confession (based on Psalm 32:1-5)

One: When the psalmists did not know what to say, they built pauses into their prayers with the word “Selah.” (Say-lah.) As we enter a time of prayer, we will mark our silences with the same word. Selah.

Many: Selah.

One: Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Many: It is a good feeling to be forgiven, to know God cares for us enough to take care of everything.

One: Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Many: When we have done things well, God can see it. When we have been honest, God will know.

One: While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.

Many: O God, you knew all the things on my mind, but they still weighed heavily on me. 

One: For day and night your hand was heavy upon me.

Many: I cannot hide things from you.

One: My strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

All: Selah

(A time of silence.)

One: Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity.

Many: I opened my heart to you, Lord.

One: I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

Many: I did confess. I do confess.

One: And you forgave the guilt of my sin. 

All: Selah

(A time of silence.)

*Imposition of Ashes

Please come forward for ashes if you wish.  (We sang a Kyrie during the imposition of Ashes.)

Assurance of Pardon

One: Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Many: It is a good feeling to be forgiven.

One: God hears our prayers and forgives us. This is the Good News that brings new life.

All: We thank God for it. 

A cross drawn in ashes
Advent Wreath, Narrative Lectionary

Advent Wreath Liturgies, Narrative Lectionary Year 1

Advent 1 – Hope (Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:2-4; 3:17-19)

One: People of God, prophets like Habbakuk pointed to a future hope, a Savior.
Many: No one knew when he would come.
One: They only hoped they would recognize the Messiah, the Son of God.
Many: We wait with hope for the One who has come and is coming.
One: Today we light a candle to symbolize our hope. We hope in the One who will come.
(Light the candle of Hope.)
One: People of God, a New Hope is coming.
All: We will rejoice in the Lord.

Advent 2 – Peace (Esther 4:1-17)

One: People of God, Esther was a heroic woman who took a great risk to bring peace for her people. .
Many: We want peace to overcome struggle, violence, and cruelty.
One: It can be dangerous to call for peace.
Many: This might be the job God needs us to do.
One: Today we light a candle to symbolize God’s peace. We hope in the One who will come. We pray for God’s peace to prevail.
(Light the candles of Hope and Peace.)
One: People of God, take courage.
All: We take courage from the light of God’s peace.

Advent 3 – Joy (Isaiah 42:1-9)

One: People of God, Isaiah promised a servant God who would come to save us.
Many: The Savior will be a light to the nations.
One: People everywhere are eager for the justice he will teach and the joy he will bring.
Many: We will see prison doors opened and people set free.
One: Today we light a candle to symbolize the joy we anticipate. We hope in the One who will come. We pray for God’s peace to prevail. Our joy will come with God’s servant.
(Light the candles of Hope, Peace and Joy.)
One: People of God, great change lies ahead.
Many: We wait to see it with joy!

Advent 4 – Love (Matthew 1:18-25)

One: People of God, today we hear the story of an angel appearing in a dream.
Many: Joseph was a righteous man who heard God’s messenger.
One: Because of his deep faith, he trusted in God’s steadfast love.
Many: When we know God’s love, we can extend it to others.
One: Today we light a candle to symbolize the steadfast love of God. We hope in the One who will come. We pray for God’s peace to prevail. Our joy will come with God’s servant. God’s love never ends.
(Light the candles of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.)
One: People of God, remember you are God’s beloved children.
Many: We celebrate God’s steadfast love!

Christmas Eve – Christ Candle (Luke 2:1-14, [15-20])

One: People of God, when the angels appeared, the shepherds were terrified.
Many: We will not fear, for this is the night of Good News!
One: We celebrate the good news of a baby, born in a stable.
Many: Tonight we light a candle to mark his birth.
One: We hope in the one who has come, Jesus Christ.
(Light the Candle of Hope.)
We pray for God’s peace to prevail.
(Light the Candle of Peace)
Our joy comes with God’s servant.
(Light the candle of Joy)
God’s love never ends.
(Light the candle of Love)
Born as one of us, Jesus became God’s living Word of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.
(Light the Christ Candle)
Do not be afraid! The Good News is here!
All: Glory to God in the Highest!

Looking for a carol of response? Now It’s Time to Light the Candle includes Advent themes of hope, peace, joy and love.

Liturgies (2014) and carol (2015) are copyrighted by the Rev. Martha K. Spong. You are welcome to use these liturgies, based on the Narrative Lectionary Year 1, in weekly worship at your local church. You are also free to adapt them to your circumstances (using multiple readers, for instance). Please leave a comment to let me know where they will be used. This does not constitute permission to publish the readings as a set or to claim credit for them online or in print. Thank you, as always, to Working Preacher, for inventing and refining the Narrative Lectionary.

Books, Liturgy, Maundy Thursday, Narrative Lectionary

Maundy Thursday litany

One: Picture him in the garden, in the fever of the moment, left with the soldiers while his friends ran away.
Many: We can picture him, surrounded but alone.
One: Did the stories cross his mind, the moments he spent with his friends, the conversations they had?
Many: Did his life flash before his eyes?

One: A woman came into the house, carrying her jar of ointment. Its rich aroma filled the room where it happened, a beautiful sign of love and care. (Remove the jar.)
Many: We remember her anointing as a gentle act of prophecy.
All: O God, make us prophets.

One: The disciples sat close, across from the Temple, and listened to all he said, the last teachings he would offer in words, a warning that all the things they counted on would come crashing down. (Remove the rock.)
Many: We remember how he told them, “Keep awake.”
All: O God, make us wakeful.

One: A widow brought her offering to the Temple, giving all she had, just as he prepared to give his all. (Remove the coins.)
Many: We remember we are to love God with all we have: heart, mind, soul and strength.
All: O God, may we be truly giving.

One: The scribes and Pharisees came to question him, and he taught them with parables, predicting his own death in the story of the vineyard workers. (Remove the grapes.)
Many: We remember the beloved son, seized and beaten.
All: O God, help us to see the truth in his stories.

One: The people shouted as he rode into Jerusalem; they laid palm branches on the road, crying “Hosanna!” (Remove palms.)
Many: We remember, yet tomorrow they will shout, “Crucify him!”
All: O God, forgive them. Forgive us.

One: James and John asked to sit by his side, one on the left and one on the right, but he reminded them of the cup they would have to drink. (Remove chalice.)
Many: We remember. How blind they were to the truth!
All: O God, give us eyes to see.

One: The young man asked his question sincerely, and he stated his faith practices with confidence, but it was not enough. (Remove paten.)
Many: We remember the camel and the eye of the needle, the fields with persecutions.
All: O God! we may not starve, but it will not be easy.

IMG_7440One: Peter rebuked him when he spoke the truth about the kind of death he would die. He struck back with words. No one can keep this from happening! Get behind me!
Many: Get behind me!
All: Get behind me, Satan! (Remove ashes.)

One: If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

All: All of them deserted him and fled.

This litany is based on the texts in the Narrative Lectionary for Year 2, moving backwards through the narrative from Holy Week to Ash Wednesday. We’ll be removing the items mentioned from the worship center during the litany, which will come after reading Mark 14:43-50. I am happy to share this litany; just leave a comment saying where you will be using it.