Lord to whom we belong in life and death, our only comfort, we come before you aware of our failings and awed by your grace. We are dust and to dust we shall return. The ashes on our forehead remind us of our frailty, our finitude and our sin. The shape of the cross they make tell of our Savior whose sacrifice conquered death, allowing us to sing praises even on our way to the grave.
As we journey through these 40 Lenten days, may the relentless gift of the Holy Spirit drive us where we most need to go to follow Christ more closely. If we find ourselves in the wilderness, afraid and tempted, deliver us from evil and send angels to tend to us. When we doubt and turn back, fall asleep and deny, forgive us as Christ forgave those who knew not what they did. If we succumb to our basest instincts, bullying and taunting any of your beloved children, stop us cold, remove the scales from our eyes and make of us new creations in Christ, eager to imitate the One with whom you are well pleased.
Alpha and Omega, our beginning and our end, we need to sense your close and abiding presence this day when we feel keenly how deeply we have grieved you through what we have done and through what we have left undone. We know that what pleases you is a contrite heart. We know that Jesus came to save sinners. We know that you do not reject a returning prodigal child. We know that through the gift of your Son you have reconciled the world. On this Ash Wednesday hear our prayers of confession, accept our acts of penitence, forgive us yet again, compel us through the power of your love to forgive others as we have been forgiven. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
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