Ash Wednesday Reflection and Blessing

Today on this Ash Wednesday we invite you to hear this Ash Wednesday Reflection and Blessing from Andy and then to read the words of Psalm 51 as a prayer of confession.

We also invite you to join us for our online Ash Wednesday Service at St. Matthew’s at 12:00 Noon at any point throughout your day http://www.stm-umc.org/live

Hear the prayer of David in Psalm 51 where he confesses his sin after being confronted by the prophet Nathan:

1 Have mercy on me, O God, 
   according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against 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.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty,
    a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being;
    therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
    and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and sustain in me a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice;
    if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Hear the words and the prayer of David. God does not desire any outward act of religion. He desires a heart for Him and for Him alone. We come to Him, empty-handed, and in His hand, we find His grace.

This Lent, as we begin our walk together towards Easter, turn your heart to God. Fast. Pray. Repent. Turn to Jesus.

Repentance is not just a thing we do when we turn to Christ for the first time, but it is a daily act, where we allow the Holy Spirit to search us, convict us, and show us the places in our lives where we have turned from God. In this act, we allow God not only to convict us of sin but through His grace bring us back to Himself.

Our ashes are outward signs. But what God desires is the inward heart. This Lent, we invited you to fast with us here at St. Matthew’s. On Friday if you can, we invite you to fast from a meal and give the money you would have spent to Rise Against Hunger (you can text the dollar amount and the word rise to 84321). If you are unable to physically fast, we invite you fast from screen time on Wednesday. Feel free to join us – you can learn more at http://www.stm-umc.org/lent.

You can also stream our online Ash Wednesday Service at Noon, or anytime throughout your day:

If you’d like to get each day’s daily scripture reading sent to your phone along with this reading guide, text @39110 to 81010 to sign up!

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