Order of Service – Ash Wednesday

The Greeting

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

The Gathering 

Wilderness God, 
as we begin this journey through Lent
help us to bring the whole of ourselves into the mystery of your presence.

Your thoughts are not our thoughts,
for you are beyond our imagination!
Your ways are not our ways
for we have lost the path of our love.

We come to you now in our weakness and vulnerability,
to find in you our healing and wholeness.
Meet us now in this place and time
and be our guide as we find the path of your love again.


Brothers and sisters in Christ, since early days Christians have observed with great devotion the time of our Lord’s passion and resurrection and prepared for this by a season of penitence and fasting. By carefully observing these days, Christians take to heart the call to repentance and the assurance of forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel, and so grow in faith and in devotion to our Lord.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy word.

Holy God,
Holy and strong,
Holy and immortal,
Have mercy upon us.

Let us pray for grace to keep Lent faithfully

Silence is kept

Holy God,
our lives are laid open before you:
rescue us from the chaos of sin
And through the death of your Son
bring us healing and make us whole
in Jesus Christ our Lord

Reading –  2 Corinthians  5:20 – 6:10

Gospel Reading  –  Matthew 6 1-6;16-21


Invitation to Confession 

The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart God will not despise.
Let us come to the Lord, who is full of compassion,
and acknowledge our transgressions in penitence and faith.

In what we have done
and neglected to do,
in the good we intended
but not followed through: 
Lord, we have fallen. 

For our wandering off
and forgetting your ways;
for leaving you out
of our moments, our days: 
Lord, we are sorrowful. 

Lord, in dust and in ashes
we turn our hearts back to you and seek your forgiveness. 

Lord, have mercy, 
Christ, have mercy, 
Lord have mercy. 

From the ashes you lift us,
erasing our shame.
You grant fresh beginnings
and restore us again.
Lord, you have raised us. 

Lord you draw us back to you 
and forgive us our wrongs. 
You replace our lamenting
with worshipful songs. 
Lord, we are grateful. 

May the Lord enrich us with his grace,
and nourish us with his blessing;
the Lord defend us in trouble and keep us from all evil;

the Lord accept our prayers,
and absolve us from our offences,
for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.


Prayers of Intercession 

Introduction to the Peace

Since we are justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has given us access to his grace.

The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be always with you
And also with you

The Eucharistic Prayer

The Lord be with you
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

And now we give you thanks
because you give us the spirit of discipline,
that we may triumph over evil and grow in grace,
as we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery
with mind and heart renewed.

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory,
hosanna in the highest.

Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness;
grant that, by the power of your Holy Spirit,
and according to your holy will,
these gifts of bread and wine 
may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ
who, in the same night that he was betrayed,
took bread and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to his disciples saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper
he took the cup and gave you thanks;
he gave it to them saying:
Drink this, all of you;
This is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

Christ is the bread of life:
When we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus,
until you come in glory.

And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross,   
his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins of the whole world;     
rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension,     
and looking for his coming in glory,     
we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.     
As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,    
we bring before you this bread and this cup     
and we thank you for counting us worthy     
to stand in your presence and serve you.           

Send the Holy Spirit on your people     
and gather into one in your kingdom     
all who share this one bread and one cup,     
so that we, in the company of all the saints,     
may praise and glorify you for ever,     
through Jesus Christ our Lord;           
by whom, and with whom, and in whom,     
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,     
all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father,     
for ever and ever.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven
Hallowed be your name
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our sins
As we forgive those 
Who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom the power 
and the glory are yours 
now and forever 

Act of Spiritual Communion 

Thanks be to you Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits you have given me,
for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
Since I can’t now receive you sacramentally,
I ask you to come spiritually int my heart.

O most merciful  redeemer, friend and brother,
may I know you more clearly, love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly day by day.

Closing Prayer 

God of our deepest selves,
as we walk with Jesus in the wilderness,
as we face our fears and doubts,
as we leave behind all that has weighted us down,
may we tread with lightened step,
through the forty days of Lent ,
knowing that we are dust and to dust we shall return,
but will come to Easter filled with joy,
knowing that we are loved
and meant for life with you for ever.

Final Blessing

God who loves us to our very depths.
Jesus who saves us from our very worst.
Spirit who moves us to become our true selves 
Bless us now and through all the days of Lent
and bring us to life in your love.


Father God, you see our secret acts of worship,
you know our hidden sacrifices,
you reward our quiet obedience.
Send us out to live for you,in the power of your Spirit
and in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ,

Some material included in this service is copyright: 

© The Archbishops’ Council 2000

Acknowledgements:  Liturgical material taken from “Apprentices & Eyewitnesses” by Chris Thorpe 

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