"The Good News Of Repentance"
Topic: Service sermon
RCL – Year A, Ash Wednesday
Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Old Testament Lesson: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 (or Isaiah 58:1-12) (ESV)
1 Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near, 2 a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people; their like has never been before, nor will be again after them through the years of all generations. 12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. 14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16 gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. 17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep and say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
New Testament Lesson: 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 (ESV)
20 We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.2 For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7 by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed;10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
The Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 (ESV)
Jesus said, 1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5 And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when 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.”
Psalm 103 (or vs 8-14 only) (BCP)
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless his holy Name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
3 He forgives all your sins
and heals all your infirmities;
4 He redeems your life from the grave
and crowns you with mercy and loving-kindness;
5 He satisfies you with good things,
and your youth is renewed like an eagle's.
6 The Lord executes righteousness
and judgment for all who are oppressed.
7 He made his ways known to Moses
and his works to the children of Israel.
8 The Lord is full of compassion and mercy,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
9 He will not always accuse us,
nor will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so is his mercy great upon those who fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our sins from us.
13 As a father cares for his children,
so does the Lord care for those who fear him.
14 For he himself knows whereof we are made;
he remembers that we are but dust.
15 Our days are like the grass;
we flourish like a flower of the field;
16 When the wind goes over it, it is gone,
and its place shall know it no more.
17 But the merciful goodness of the Lord endures for ever on those who fear him,
and his righteousness on children's children;
18 On those who keep his covenant
and remember his commandments and do them.
19 The Lord has set his throne in heaven,
and his kingship has dominion over all.
20 Bless the Lord, you angels of his,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
and hearken to the voice of his word.
21 Bless the Lord, all you his hosts,
you ministers of his who do his will.
22 Bless the Lord, all you works of his,
in all places of his dominion;
bless the Lord, O my soul.
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