Let us pray in silence for grace to keep Lent faithfully.

pause

Almighty and merciful God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all who are penitent;
create in us new and contrite hearts,
so that when we turn to you and confess our sins
we may receive your full and perfect forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Redeemer
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever. Amen.

A reflection on this Ash Wednesday collect/opening prayer is found here

A reading from the gospel according to Matthew Chapter 6 beginning at verse 1.

6:1 “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.
3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 so 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.
6 But 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.
17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
18 so 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;
20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Ash Wednesday – A Service for the Beginning of Lent
A few simple suggestion during Lent
What is Lent – especially translating it to the Southern Hemisphere

Some ideas for Lent:

  • Tweet less; Facebook less; blog less
  • Pray more; read more; meditate more
  • Do less; go to less meetings; have less meetings at church
  • spend more time with friends, with family, with those you find difficult
  • Go out less; have less/no coffees; drink less/no wine
  • Give away the money you save
  • Give away the money you save plus (##)%
  • visit the sick; write letters; start a journal

Add your reflections on the collect/opening prayer; your thoughts on the gospel reading; your ideas for Lent – in the comments section

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