Ash Wednesday

Morning Psalms: 32, 143 | Evening Psalms: 102,130
Amos 5:6-15 | Hebrews 12:1-17 | Luke 18:9-14

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


So much of life seems to be about avoiding the impending reality of death. But on this day, despite our best efforts, we will not escape it. As the cold, gritty ash is pressed into our skin, the words come, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” The black crosses drying uncomfortably on our foreheads act as a reminder that our flesh will return to the earth and become, once again, dust. But, thanks be to God, death will not have the final say. Because of the ministry of Jesus Christ, through his cross and resurrection, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death where is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:54b-55).

Today, as we begin our Lenten observance, a season of repentance and prayer, fasting and self-denial, we must hold these two truths in tension. All of us will die, but if we, in the words of the prophet Amos, “Seek the Lord and live,” we will, in fact, live through Jesus Christ. As we engage in various acts of spiritual discipline in the weeks to come, let them be opportunities to rely upon the Holy Spirit and, with his help, to pursue God. Let us cast off the works of darkness and self-reliance and find our life in him. And though we are dust, one day we shall live in him.

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Rev. Aidan Smith (MDiv 2014)
Interim Director of Recruitment
Trinity School for Ministry
Ambridge, PA

Copyright © 2016 Trinity School for Ministry, All rights reserved.

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