Setup: Black oil crayons or ash on tables. Cross and bunch of small white flowers (one for everyone) at front. Passage Ezekiel 36:25-26 at cross.
This last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of the Season of Lent. Its name comes from the ancient practice of placing ashes on worshippers’ heads or foreheads as a sign of humility before God, a symbol of mourning and sorrow at the death that sin brings into the world.
Today, as we prepare to journey through lent and celebrate easter and as we prepare to worship we remember that we are totally unworthy before God, that we need God’s grace and forgiveness and transforming presence in our lives in order to live a life that reflects God’s love. .
I invite you to make a sign of a cross the symbol sorrow, of our mortality, on your hand from the oil crayon / ash on your table.
God created us out of the dust of the earth. Remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return.
Let us turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ.
Play track 3
In this time we will invite God to examine our hearts as we wait silently before him. Allow God to gently bring to mind that which you need to turn away from in your life.
Let’s now read together the Confession – Psalm 51. A psalm written by David when the prophet Nathan came to him after David had been with Bathsheba. Read the parts in bold with me.
Slide 5 & 6
Psalm 51:1-13 (Contemporary English Version)
A Prayer for Forgiveness
You are kind, God!
Please have pity on me.
You are always merciful!
Please wipe away my sins.
Wash me clean from all
of my sin and guilt.
I know about my sins,
and I cannot forget my terrible guilt.
You are really the one I have sinned against;
I have disobeyed you and have done wrong.
So it is right and fair for you to correct and punish me.
I have sinned and done wrong since the day I was born.
But you want complete honesty, so teach me true wisdom.
Wash me with hyssop until I am clean and whiter than snow.
Let me be happy and joyful!
You crushed my bones, now let them celebrate.
Turn your eyes from my sin and cover my guilt.
Create pure thoughts in me and make me faithful again.
Don’t chase me away from you or take your Holy Spirit away from me.
Make me as happy as you did when you saved me;
make me want to obey!
Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
Romans 5:17-19 (New Living Translation)
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
We invite you to come to the foot of the cross and as you turn away from this sin – as you change direction, symbolically and in the real strength of God – take away in its place a flower. The hyssop plant referred to in the psalm was a small bush with bunches of small, white flowers. It was sometimes used as a symbol for making a person clean from sin. Today this flower will symbolise the cleansing that God promises us.
Play track 4 – ‘Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet’