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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
February 18, 2015
Ash Wednesday

PRELUDE

GREETING 

Leader: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
People: And also with you.

Silence is kept.


OPENING PRAYER

Leader: 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.
People: Amen.


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HUNGRY

Hungry I come to you
For I know You satisfy.
I am empty, but I know
Your love does not run dry.

So I wait for You
So I wait for You

CHORUS
I’m falling on my knees Offering all of me.
Jesus, You’re all this heart is living for.

Broken I run to You
For Your arms are open wide
I am weary, but I know
Your touch restores my life.

CHORUS


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SCRIPTURE READING

Psalm 51, NRSV 

Leader: 1Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
People: 
2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Leader: 
4Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
People: 5Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. 6You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Leader: 
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
People: 
9Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Leader: 
11Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. 12Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

People: 13Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.


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Leader: 15O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased. 17The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
People: 18Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, 19then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Leader: This is the word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God. 

Silence is kept.


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SCRIPTURE READING 

Matthew 18:1-9, NRSV

1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child, whom he put among them, 3and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

6“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!

8“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Minister: This is the gospel of the Lord.
People: Praise to you, O Christ!


PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION

REFLECTION

INVITATION TO THE OBSERVANCE
OF THE LENTEN DISCIPLINE


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CONFESSION

Minister: God the Father,
People: have mercy on us. 

Minister: God the Son,
People: have mercy on us. 
Minister: God the Holy Spirit,
People: have mercy on us. 
Minister: Trinity of love,
People: have mercy on us.

People: Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed.
Minister: 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.
People: Lord, have mercy.
Minster: We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit.
People: Lord, have mercy.


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THE IMPOSITION OF ASHES

Minister: God our Father, you create us from the dust of the earth: grant that these ashes may be for us a sign of our penitence and a symbol of our mortality; for it is by your grace alone that we receive eternal life in Jesus Christ our Savior.
People: Amen. 

You are invited to come forward to receive the imposition of ashes. During the imposition of ashes, please remain silent. The Minister will be marking the forehead of each person with the ashes in the sign of the cross, using the following words:

Minister: Consider yourself dead to sin and alive in Jesus Christ.


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WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, 
Save in the death of Christ my God; 
All the vain things that charm me most, 
I sacrifice them to His blood.

CHORUS
Oh the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross

Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
Oh the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross
All who gather here by grace draw near and bless your name

See from his head, his hands, his feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ever such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

CHORUS

Were the whole realm of nature mine, 
That were a present far too small: 
Love so amazing, so divine, 
Demands my soul, my life, my all.


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WORDS OF PARDON

Minister: Jesus bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we, free from sins, might live for righteousness; by his wounds we have been healed. Know that you are forgiven, and be at peace.   

—  1 Peter 2:24, NRSV

People: Thanks be to God!

PASSING THE PEACE


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HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away.
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.


Behold the Man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished.


I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.


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CLOSING PRAYER

All: Gracious God, out of your love and mercy you breathed into dust the breath of life, creating us to serve you and our neighbors. In this season of repentance, restore to us the joy of our salvation and strengthen us to face our mortality, that we may reach with confidence for your mercy, in Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


BENEDICTION

Minister: May God the Father, who does not despise the broken spirit, give you a contrite heart. May Christ, who bore our sins in his body on the tree, heal you by his wounds. May the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth, speak to you words of pardon and peace.
All: Amen.


DISMISSAL 

Minister: Ever mindful of our frailty, and through humble reliance on Christ alone, let us go forth to serve the world as those who love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
All: Thanks be to God!


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LENT AT LIBERTI CHURCH

This Lent, Liberti will be praying together through our Lent Prayerbook, which is available as an e-book or PDF at libertichurch.org/lent-and-easter.

We’ll also be holding special services during Holy Week, both here at the First Baptist Building and at our Main Line Campus (Rosemont College - 1400, Montgomery Ave., Bryn Mawr). You can learn more about these services libertichurch.org/lent-and-easter.



EASTER OUTREACH

This year, we’re partnering with over 30 churches and organizations to distribute 3,000 Easter dinners here in the Philadelphia region and build 3 wells in South Sudan. To do this, we need to raise at least $75,000 and rally hundreds of volunteers. To give to, serve with, or learn more about this initiative, please visit easteroutreach.org.  


We'd love to help you get connected at Liberti Church. Click here for our online welcome card. 

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