Lent 2017: Ash Wednesday, The Beginning.

Welcome to Lent!!

If you’re coming into this brand new, you might want to check out my first post in this series, so you know better than to view this as any sort of ‘proper’ Lenten observance!

This is simply the invitation of one who has fallen in love with the barest outline of Lent, to anyone else who would like to give it a try in a no-pressure way.

Here there is no right or wrong way to practice Lent. .

This is just 40 set-aside days in which we have the luxury of pausing a little, and focusing on some aspect of our relationships with God, in a way that draws us nearer rather than pressing us down.

For each of the days in the Lectionary I’ll post that day’s verses and prayers.

You can pick one to ponder, or go through all, or just focus on what speaks to you in this Lenten season.

SO: Welcome to Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent 2017.

According to my new-found friend the Revised Common Lectionary, the official scriptures for today are:

First Reading Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12

Why is there an ‘OR’?  I have NO IDEA.

I do know, however, that Isaiah 58 is just about the coolest reference source for Christian living, so if in doubt, I’d go with that one.

But then, it’s not as if you can really go wrong, you know? And I’m pretty sure no one will complain if we decide to read both.

BUT THEN!!! There is ALSO a Psalm of the day as well!!

Today’s is  Psalm 51:1-17.

Now, the link up at Joel and Isaiah is from the lectionary itself, and it has the whole text of all of these, for your easy reference; I’m just adding additional versions to the rest of these to mix it up a bit.

I can also highly recommend Psalm 51. 🙂

Lest you worry that the New Testament has been neglected in this crucial Lenten season, the Second Reading for today is: 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10.

I’m theorising that it’s okay to read the whole of verse 20, so that’s what I’ve linked above.

Why are there a First, and a Second reading (especially when there are are actually 5 passages on offer)?

No idea on that either. But they definitely ought to be enough to get us through a day!

As if that were not enough, in addition to the NT Second Reading, there is a Gospel Reading! These liturgical folks have things covered.

The Gospel Reading, very much in theme with the rest, is Matthew 6 : 1-6 and 16-21

 

The Lectionary also includes a set of Prayers, and a selection of Art for each day. 

Now, the ART   for this one doesn’t happen to be my thing, but I know that everyone is different, so I’m including the link so you have the option to peruse as you like. I hope it really speaks to some of you.

The  PRAYERS though, I really like. So, with the kind permission of Vanderbilt University’s Revised Common Lectionary** I’ll post those here. 

Thematic

Righteous God,
in humility and repentance
we bring our failures in caring, helping, and loving,
we bring the pain we have caused other,
we bring the injustice in society of which we are a part,
to the transforming power of your grace.
Grant us the courage to accept the healing you offer
and to turn again toward the sunrise of your reign,
that we may walk with you in the promise of peace
you have willed for all the children of the earth,
and have made known to us in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Intercessory

Gracious and merciful God,
you see into the secret places of our hearts,
where we mourn our sins.
As we turn again to your grace, receive our prayers.

Prayers of the People, concluding with:

Look with mercy on our contrite hearts,
wash from us the stain of iniquity,
and create a new and right spirit in us,
that we may declare your praise
and offer an acceptable sacrifice in these Lenten days;
through Christ Jesus, who bore our sins on the cross. Amen.

Scripture

O God, you delight not in pomp and show,
but in a humble and contrite heart.
Overturn our love of worldly possessions
and fix our hearts more firmly on you,
that, having nothing,
we may yet possess everything,
a treasure stored up for us in heaven. Amen.

Thanks for coming along!

The next Lent Post will be on Sunday, 5 March.

If you’d like some daily thoughts for your walk through Lent, BibleGateway has some interesting sounding Lent Devotionals. They will send you one email a day throughout Lent. I’ m going to check out the Bonhoeffer one, myself. Seems timely.

 

 

Be well. 

 

** Reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts

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