Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Whether this is your first time with us or your one thousand and first, we are glad that the Spirit has drawn you here today! Visitors are invited to sign the Guest Book near the front doors of the church and take home a welcome brochure to learn more about us.

The service begins in silence


We gather together at the edge of a new season.

We stand together on the cusp of something new.

Will we wade into self-reflection?

Will we invite honesty to dance?

Will we listen for God’s invitation?

Will we seek deeper faith?

What kind of fast do we choose? What kind of faith will we build?

We gather together at the edge of a new season.

Listen, God is speaking.


Now the Feast


Let us pray. Gracious God, out of your love and mercy you breathed into dust the breath of life, creating us to serve you and our neighbors. Call forth our prayers and acts of kindness, and strengthen us to face our mortality with confidence in the mercy of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.



A reading from Isaiah.

1Shout out, do not hold back!
Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
to the house of Jacob their sins.

2Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
they delight to draw near to God.

3“Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”
Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
and oppress all your workers.

4Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
will not make your voice heard on high.

5Is such the fast that I choose,
a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?

6Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?

7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

8Then your light shall break fort like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

9Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,

10if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.

11The LORD will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.

12Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.

Word of God. Word of Life. Thanks be to God.


The first time the Cantor/Choir will sing once, then the congregation will repeat

Verses sung alternately by the cantor/choir and congregation

1Have mercy on me, O God, according to your | steadfast love; in your great compassion blot out | my offenses.

2Wash me through and through | from my wickedness, and cleanse me | from my sin.

3For I know | my offenses, and my sin is ev- | er before me.

4Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil | in your sight; so you are justified when you speak and right | in your judgment. R

5Indeed, I was born | steeped in wickedness, a sinner from my | mother’s womb.

6Indeed, you delight in truth | deep within me, and would have me know wisdom | deep within.

7Remove my sins with hyssop, and I | shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be pur- | er than snow.

8Let me hear | joy and gladness; that the body you have broken | may rejoice. R

9Hide your face | from my sins, and blot out | all my wickedness.

10Create in me a clean | heart, O God, and renew a right spir- | it within me.

11Cast me not away | from your presence, and take not your Holy Spir- | it from me.

12Restore to me the joy of | your salvation and sustain me with your boun- | tiful Spirit. R

13Let me teach your ways | to offenders, and sinners shall be re- | stored to you.

14Rescue me from bloodshed, O God of | my salvation, and my tongue shall sing | of your righteousness.

15O Lord, o- | pen my lips, and my mouth shall pro- | claim your praise.

16For you take no delight in sacrifice, or | I would give it.

You are not pleased | with burnt offering.

17The sacrifice of God is a | troubled spirit; a troubled and broken heart, O God, you will | not despise. R


GOSPEL  MATTHEW 6:1-6, 16-21

The Holy Gospel according to Matthew.  Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus said to the disciples: 1“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2“So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.

HOMILY – Pastor Cassie

HYMN OF THE DAY                      Beautiful Things                                           ACS 925



The season of Lent arrives again, and we long for God to speak to us. Our weary spirits cry out for renewal and resurrection. We call on God to meet us wherever we are at, and to walk with us on a journey that leads to Easter.

We wonder how we can keep this season; how we can pray, what we might give up, how we might serve others. We are seekers, full of questions. And this year, as we’ll see in our Scripture readings throughout Lent, God might not give simple answers. In fact, God will ask holy questions back to us.  Perhaps God knows that asking questions can lead to deeper faith.

As we begin this season then, let us start with a blank slate, confessing our sin and receiving God’s forgiveness.  God knows the truth of our brokenness, yet we voice it aloud so that we name it and move beyond it, eager to hear God’s promise of love guiding our path.

Silence for reflection and self-examination.

Most holy and merciful God, we confess to you and to one another, and before the whole company of heaven, that we have sinned in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.

Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

Our past unfaithfulness, the pride, envy, hypocrisy, and apathy that have infected our worship and our lives, we confess to you.

Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people, we confess to you.

Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

Our neglect of human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty, we confess to you.

Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

Our false judgments, our uncharitable thoughts, our prejudice, we confess to you.

Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

Our waste and pollution of your creation; our lack of concern for those who come after us, we confess to you.

Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

Restore us, O God, and let us see your loving face once more.

Hear us, O God, for your mercy is great.


Those who desire to receive ashes come forward and kneel before the altar.
The pastors apply ashes to the forehead of each person with the words:

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Music During Imposition

Remember That You Are Dust


O Lamm Gottes unschuldig
Johann Pachelbel
Yeon Soh

Wer nur den lieben Gott last walten
Georg Bohm
Yeon Soh

After all who desire ashes have received them, the pastor concludes:

Accomplish in us, O God, the work of your salvation,
that we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son, our Savior,

Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life.  Amen.


Alive through Christ’s mercy, reconciled to God and to each other, let us lift up our prayers for the church and our world.

O God of our salvation,

our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.

Restore broken hearts to wholeness:

heal the sick; feed the hungry; shelter the homeless; and warm the cold.

Restore broken nations to wholeness: undermine the corrupt; manipulate power to heal weakness, break weapons of war; and guide refugees home.

Restore broken churches to wholeness:

teach your living word; share your love; give your blessings; remake us in your image.

For what else do we pray?

(The congregation is invited to share their individual prayers aloud or in silence)

In you, we rest with joy and gladness.

You restore our souls, O Mender of Hearts. Amen.


The peace of the Lord be with you always. And also with you.

ANTHEM 12 pm

O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen
Johannes Brahms
Yeon Soh


Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days
arr. Richard Shepherd
Chancel Choir


Come to the Table


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 our thanks and praise.


Praise and thanks go to you, Great God, for at the beginning of time

you wondered what your Spirit hovering over the water could bring forth:

Sky and sea? Yes.

Sun and moon? Yes.

Land and plants and animals? People made in your divine image? The answer was yes.

And you loved this answer. Everything you made was good. From the first days of humankind,

Any time your people were exiled and afraid, you asked the prophet if the dry bones of their pain and mistakes could live anew. The answer was yes.

Out of your unflinching yes for our salvation, you sent to us Jesus, a savior with questionable beginnings from a dubious place. Everyday people had their doubts, but Jesus’ faith compelled them to ask, “Is this really the one who will save us from our sins?”

Christ’s abundant forgiveness to sinners, his death at the hands of the state, and glorious resurrection from the depths of the tomb all answered yes. Now, humble people, we respond with our own affirmation.

Is our God loving? Does our God work for the good of those who wait for justice? Does our God bring new life to those who have died?

Yes, yes, yes.



For all this, even the people who knew Jesus best carried doubts in their hearts. They lived under the burden of unanswered questions. And when Jesus gathered them for one last meal, uncertainty swirled in their hearts.

So to explain God’s love, and to show it and share it Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.

When we eat this bread and drink this cup we never have to question your love for us, Great God. Now send the Spirit into this meal and into our hearts, that we will become people who delight in what you have done and joyfully wonder what you shall make of us today.


Let us pray as Jesus taught us, each in the words or language of our choice.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.


Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever.  Amen.


If you wonder whether God really wants you at this table, Jesus answers yes.

Bring your unanswered questions with you, because the Spirit unquestionably beckons you to taste the truth of God’s love.


At this table, Christ is both host and meal, and offers himself to all who hunger and thirst for his presence.

We believe that he is truly present in this sacrament.

Come to the front, where bread is placed in your hand (you can request a gluten-free wafer), and where you receive wine by taking a cup from the tray (the cups in the center contain white grape juice).

If you do not wish to commune, you are welcome to come forward and receive a blessing.

If you need to receive communion in your seat, simply notify an usher.

No one is too young to receive this sacrament, though some families wish to give their children some instruction before they take their first communion. If a young child accompanies you, please indicate to the pastor whether they should receive bread or a blessing.


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Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling


Lord Jesus, Think on Me


The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in God’s grace. Amen.


Let us pray. Embodied God, at your table, we have tasted the goodness of Jesus.

With the eyes of our hearts open to your promise, empower us to hear the needs of our neighbors and touch the world with your love. Amen.


As you leave this place, may God bless you with seeking.
Seek out the hungry and the weary. Seek the good in every person you pass.

Seek out the hopeful and the faithful. Seek God in each of us.

As you seek and as you wonder, know that God, Father, Son, + and Holy Spirit is always seeking us, walking with us along the way. Amen



Oh Lord, throughout These Forty Days


Go in peace, seeking love and justice with all your questions. Thanks be to God.


Christe, du Lamm Gottes
J.S. Bach
Yeon Soh

Thanks to those who helped with worship today!

Worship Assistant – Jochen

Communion Presenters – Stephanie & Pat

Ushers – Morgan & Tate

Livestream Operator – Lou

Altar Care – Stephanie


Graphical user interface, application Description automatically generatedFrom Sundays and © 2023 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #27028. New Revised Standard Version Bible, ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. CCLI#1313879. OneLicense # A-716488.