Ash Wednesday

Focus

Lent: A time for giving up sin

You often hear about people “giving something up” for Lent. Usually it’s some minor, insignificant vice like sweets. However, during Lent God calls us to give up something much more serious: our sin. We do that through repentance, which consists both of acknowledging our sin and confidently turning to Christ as our Savior for forgiveness. Repentance is something that is vital for Christians on a daily basis. It cannot wait until tomorrow. The time for repentance is now.

First Lesson: 2 Samuel 24:10-25 David seeks mercy from the Lord and finds it.
Second Lesson: Revelation 3:14-22 Jesus waits for repentance from lukewarm Christians.
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14 The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector illustrates the importance of repentance.
Psalm: Psalm 51a

Suggestions

  • Psalm Songs for Lent, Holy Week, Easter. The refrain makes use of language from the Parable of the Lost Son. If you also use the penitential gathering rite described above, your Ash Wednesday service will very strongly introduce the dominant theme of repentance that carries into the Sunday services. Can also be used on the fourth Sunday, when the Parable of the Lost Son is the gospel of the day.
  • Verse: Joel 2:13 [Musical Suggestions: See Seasonal Music.
  • Anthem:Return to the Lord, Paul Tate. Includes a responsive refrain sung between soloist and congregation. Based on verses from Joel 2.
  • Other: Consider letting Ash Wednesday retain its appointed emphasis and leaving the remaining five midweek services for a Passion History review. Your preaching rotation and Lenten series can easily be adopted to be five weeks instead of six. Christian Worship: Occasional Services divides the reading of the Passion History into five sections for this purpose.

Rev. Jonathan P. Bauer

Jonathan Bauer serves at Good News Lutheran Church, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

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