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Preparing For A Party!

Today is Ash Wednesday.

The Lenten season has started again. And it is truly my favorite time of the year.

While many churches don’t necessarily observe the season, in a growing number of congregations Lent is once again what it was in the early church, a special time of preparation for Easter. These forty days, about one tenth of the year, are our “tithe” of the year. It is time we set aside to focus on the wonder of our redemption. Our personal Lenten practices, however, are not just another thing to add to our to-do lists. They serve to prepare us for a party, the party of Easter.

So we invite you to follow along with the Lenten readings that you will find on our web site. http://hopepark.com/daily/www/

For the majority of us, that is more than sufficient. Read, reflect, pray. I would love to hear your thoughts and responses. I’ll check back in from time to time during the season.

Ways You Can Observe Ash Wednesday

OK, if you are still reading, I am assuming that you may be looking for something to help you observe Ash Wednesday. So I’ll share my personal practice for today, and invite you to join with me.

Following are three prayers that reflect the spirit of the day. I encourage you to find a spot where you can focus and center yourself. And say all three prayers. No need to rush, it’s not a race, and you can’t do things wrong.

It’s not required, but I find it most helpful to say these prayers out loud. Simply focus on the words of the prayers, and the state of your heart in response to them.



A Prayer for Grace to Keep Lent Faithfully

Almighty and merciful God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all who are repentant;
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 Prayer of Repentance

We have not loved you with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength.
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.

Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

We have been deaf to your call to serve.
We have been unfaithful, proud, and hypocritical.

Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

We have been self-centered, and have taken advantage of others.

Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

We have been envious of those more fortunate than ourselves.

Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

We have loved worldly goods and comforts too much.
We have been dishonest in daily life and work.

Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

We have neglected prayer and worship, and have failed to commend the faith that is in us.

Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

We have been blind to human need and suffering, and indifferent to injustice and cruelty.

Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

We have thought uncharitably about others, and we have been prejudiced towards those who differ from us.

Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

We have wasted and polluted your creation, and lacked concern for those who come after us.

Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Merciful God,
we have sinned
in what we have thought and said,
in the wrong we have done
and in the good we have not done.
We have sinned in ignorance:
we have sinned in weakness:
we have sinned through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry.
We repent and turn to you.
Forgive us, for our Saviour Christ’s sake,
and renew our lives to the glory of your name.


A Prayer As We Embrace God’s Grace and Forgiveness.

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to you be honor, glory, and praise, for ever and ever.

Through the cross of Christ,

God has mercy on me,

To pardon and set me free.

To know that I am forgiven

To be at peace.

God strengthens me in all goodness

And keeps me in life eternal.


(These thoughts and prayers are copied, inspired and adapted from a liturgy prepared by Rev. Bosco Peters, NZ)


About Bill Todd

Bill Todd is a spiritual director and speaker living in Franklin TN. He is patiently loved by Jody Todd, and their children Kaleigh, Hannah, and Liam.


2 thoughts on “Preparing For A Party!

  1. Well done, my friend. Lent is what gets me through the “rest of winter” in the Midwest so I’m joining you in your journey. My contemplative best loves the liturgy. Thanks for sharing. Peace.

    Posted by Kitti | February 17, 2010, 9:37 am

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