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Ash Wednesday 18th February 2015

ashAsh Wednesday 18th February 2015       8am. 11am,5.30pm Lismore

   Joel 2:1-2,12-17  Matthew 6:1-6,16-21

Lent in the southern hemisphere coincides with Autumn when Nature slows down, bearing the seeds of the future so life may be renewed come Spring time. Gardeners tidy and prepare the soil, planting bulbs, setting the stage for the drama of new life erupting into the world.

We as church also use this Lenten season to slow down, to get back to basics, focusing on the new life found in the death and resurrection of Jesus. We might plant some bulbs together, praying that through our celebration of Lent new life may spring up in our community and throughout the world.

Ash Wednesday reminds us of our mortality and the promise of new life in Christ. Our foreheads are marked with the sign of the cross, to the words: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” [Genesis 3:19]

Then follows the exhortation: “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.” [Mark 1:15]

This Lenten season isn’t simply another opportunity for self-improvement through personal study or small group work. It prepares us for the biggest party of all: the celebration of Christ’s glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Our Lenten worship services may take on a muted tone – in stark contrast to the joyful celebration of Easter Day. Flowers might be absent from our church, our worship music restrained and decorations removed.

In our Second Order Holy Communion liturgy we recite the Trisagion rather than the Gloria (“Glory to God in the highest…”), and we avoid singing hymns using the word ‘Alleluia’ which will be kept for Easter Sunday.

To grow closer to Christ we need to take time out with our Father, to reflect and pray. Too often Lent becomes the church’s busiest time as we add extra services and study on top of our full parish programme.

In the set gospel for the first Sunday of Lent we accompany Jesus into his forty days of silent retreat in the desert where he resists temptation [Luke 4:1-15].

May our times at church and the Lenten disciplines we have chosen be oases in the desert, providing moments of refreshment, realistic self-examination and intimacy with God.

 

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert

Ash Wednesday 18th February 2015       8am. 11am,5.30pm Lismore

   Joel 2:1-2,12-17  Matthew 6:1-6,16-21

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17  1Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near— 2a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come. 12Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. 14Who 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? 15Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy. 17Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep. Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 1“Beware of practising 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.