Midweek Lenten Service 1: Ash Wednesday February 26, 2020
Tonight’s Order of Worship
In the Savior’s Footsteps…
…To the Upper Room
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Pastor: Holy and righteous God, as we again begin the solemn journey of Lent, we come before You in deep humility. We confess that we are sinners, both by the nature we inherit and by the sinful thoughts, desires, words, and actions which that nature produces. Because of our sins we deserve only Your wrath and punishment. You reveal Yourself as a God of holiness and justice, but more, as a God of mercy, love, and forgiveness. Despairing of our own merits and worthiness, and in response to Your gracious invitation, we come, pleading the merits of Christ.
All: Lord, have mercy on us for Jesus’ sake.
Pastor: You have revealed Your love and mercy for us in Christ. You sent Him into our world to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all people. Help us grasp by faith the great truth that the pain, suffering, mockery, ridicule, death, and punishment for sin that He endured should have been ours. Help us to understand that in love He suffered and died for us. He was our complete substitute who endured sin’s punishment in our place.
All: Lord, have mercy on us for Jesus’ sake.
Pastor: God of grace and mercy, may Your Spirit continue to be with us as we follow the way of the cross. As we contemplate the story of our Savior’s passion, renew us in faith. Bestow on us the zeal to serve You by reflecting Your love in our lives. Give us the desire and the ability to boldly proclaim the grace in which we stand, so that all for whom You lived and died may join us in fellowship now and in Your presence forever.
All: We offer our humble thanks and praise, our prayers and petitions, and ourselves in body and spirit to You, Lord God. Hear us according to Your promise. Amen.
The Confession of Sins and Absolution
The Exhortation (Pastor):
Dearly Friends in Christ: The Holy Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ has been instituted for the special comfort and strengthening of those who humbly confess their sins, and who hunger and thirst after righteousness. For as much as we intend to come to the Lord’s Table, it is necessary for us to diligently examine ourselves as St. Paul exhorts us.
We find when we do this that we are under the dominion of sin and death. To save us from death, make us children of God, and exalt us to everlasting life, our Lord Jesus Christ had mercy on us, took our nature upon Himself, and became obedient unto death.
In order that we should believe this with greater confidence and be strengthened in cheerful obedience to His will, He has instituted the Sacrament of the Altar in which He gives us His Body and His Blood to eat and to drink. Whoever eats this Bread and drinks this Cup, firmly believing the words of Christ, lives in Christ and Christ in him, and has eternal life.
We should also do this in remembrance of Him, showing His death, that he was delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification. For all that He has done we are bound to give Him most hearty thanks, to take up our cross and follow Him, and as He gave commandment, to love one another as He has loved us. For as we are all partakers of this one Bread and drink of this one Cup, so are we all one body in Him.
We pray: Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love You, and worthily magnify Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.
The Hymn: “Jesus, I Will Ponder Now” 98
The Reading of the Passion History: The Upper Room
Patterned after the Lutheran arrangement that was printed in “The Lutheran Lectionary” of the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America in the 1940s.
The Hymn: “The Death of Jesus Christ, Our Lord” st.1-5 135
In the Savior’s Footsteps…To the Upper Room
Part 1 of the Passion History
The Hymn: “Draw Near and Take the Body of the Lord” 308
The Examination of Conscience:
Pastor: I ask you in the presence of God, who searches the heart: Do you confess that you are by nature an unworthy sinner, and that you have grievously disobeyed Him in thought, word, and deed, and have merited only His wrath and condemnation?
Congr: I do so confess.
Pastor: Do you trust entirely in the mercy of God in Jesus Christ?
Congr: I do so trust.
Pastor: Do you promise heartily to forgive others, as you believe that God forgives you, and to serve Him henceforth in newness of life, to the glory of His holy Name?
Congr: I do so promise.
Pastor: Let us humbly bow our hearts and make confession unto God, imploring His forgiveness through Jesus Christ:
All: O God, our heavenly Father, I confess unto You that I have grievously sinned against You in many ways; not only by outward transgressions, but also by secret thoughts and desires which I cannot fully understand, but which are all known unto You. I do earnestly repent, and am heartily sorry for these my offences, and I beseech You of Your great goodness to have mercy upon me, and for the sake of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, to forgive my sins, and graciously to help me in my infirmities. Amen.
Pastor: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, has had mercy upon us, and for the sake of the sufferings, death, and resurrection of His dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, forgives us all our sins. As a Minister of Christ’s Church, and by His authority, I therefore declare unto you who do truly repent and believe in Him, the entire forgiveness of all your sins: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
The Institution and Distribution of the Lord’s Supper
The Collect for Peace and the Benediction
The Closing Hymn: “Abide with Me” st.1-3,7 588
Attuning Our Hearts to Lent
Mr. Brown had stepped from a crowded store into a room to take a phone call. But try as hard as he would, he could not distinguish the voice on the phone and the message was lost in the clatter and clamor of the crowded store. Finally, he managed to catch one sentence: “John, please close the door behind you.” He had neglected to close the door of the room into which he had stepped, and the noise of the store drowned out the distant voice from his hearing.
During these weeks, as we step from our busy, noisy worlds of everyday life into the hush and quiet of the Lenten season, let us make sure that we have closed the doors behind us. Let us close the door to all that would distract or disturb us in our solemn contemplation of the wondrous Lenten theme.
There is a message in the sacred Lenten season, a message from the heavenly Father’s heart to ours. It is a message of peace and pardon, of courage and strength, of life and hope, through the wounds and death of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
It is up to us to make sure that we have closed the doors against the busy world that would deprive us of that message as we follow in the footsteps of our Savior in His Passion. It will be up to us to open our ears to Him who went from the Upper Room to Golgotha so that we might go from earth to heaven.
How appropriate then the prayer:
Jesus, I will ponder now On Thy holy passion;
With Thy Spirit me endow For such meditation.
Grant that I in love and faith May the image cherish
Of Thy suffering, pain, and death That I may not perish.
Grant that I Thy Passion view With repentant grieving
Nor Thee crucify anew By unholy living.
How could I refuse to shun Every sinful pleasure
Since for me God’s only Son Suffered without measure?
Adapted from Herman Gockel’s Attuning our Hearts to Lent