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Holy Communion Lent Podcast Worship

Holy Communion for Ash Wednesday

Mark the beginning of Lent by listening to a service of Holy Communion for Ash Wednesday and take part in an act of Spiritual Communion

Hymn

Forty days and forty nights
thou wast fasting in the wild;
forty days and forty nights
tempted, and yet undefiled:

Shall not we thy sorrows share,
and from earthly joys abstain,
fasting with unceasing prayer,
glad with thee to suffer pain?

Keep, O keep us, Saviour dear,
ever constant by thy side;
that with thee we may appear
at the eternal Eastertide.

George Hunt Smyttan (1822–1870) and Francis Pott (1832–1909)

The Gathering

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ
be with you
and also with you.

Introduction

Brothers and sisters in Christ,
since early days Christians have observed with great devotion
the time of our Lord’s passion and resurrection
and prepared for this by a season of penitence and fasting.

By carefully keeping these days,
Christians take to heart the call to repentance
and the assurance of forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel,
and so grow in faith and in devotion to our Lord.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church,
to the observance of a holy Lent,
by self-examination and repentance;
by prayer, fasting, and self-denial;
and by reading and meditating on God’s holy word.

Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

The Collect

Let us pray for grace to keep Lent faithfully.

Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Reading
Joel 2.1-2, 12-17

A reading from the book of the prophet Joel.

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming, it is near –
a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness spread upon the mountains
a great and powerful army comes;
their like has never been from of old,
nor will be again after them in ages to come.

Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
rend your hearts and not your clothing.

Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.

Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain-offering and a drink-offering for the LORD, your God?

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast;
call a solemn assembly; gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged;
gather the children, even infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy.

Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep. Let them say, ‘Spare your people, O LORD, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, “Where is their God?”’

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Gospel Reading
John 8.1-11

Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.
The Lord is a great God, O that today you would listen to his voice.
Harden not your hearts.
Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.
Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them.

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all the people, they said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They said this to test Jesus, so that they might have some charge to bring against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’

And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.

When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.

Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Self-examination and Confession

Let us now call to mind our sin and the infinite mercy of God.

God the Father,
have mercy on us.

God the Son,
have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.

Trinity of love,
have mercy on us.

Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
Lord, have mercy.

We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us.
We have not been true to the mind of Christ.
We have grieved your Holy Spirit.
Lord, have mercy.

We confess to you, Lord …
all our past unfaithfulness:
the pride, hypocrisy and impatience of our lives.
Lord, have mercy.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways,
and our exploitation of other people.
Lord, have mercy.

Our anger at our own frustration
and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves.
Lord, have mercy.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts
and our dishonesty in daily life and work.
Lord, have mercy.

Our negligence in prayer and worship
and our failure to commend the faith that is in us.
Lord, have mercy.

Accept our repentance, Lord …
for the wrongs we have done,
for our blindness to human need and suffering,
and our indifference to injustice and cruelty.
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgements,
for uncharitable thoughts towards our neighbours
and for our prejudice and contempt towards those who differ from us.
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation
and our lack of concern for those who come after us.
Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us.
Favourably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of your salvation,
that we may show your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord,
bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly,
love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God.
Amen.

The Lord enrich you with his grace,
and nourish you with his blessing;
the Lord defend you in trouble
and keep you from all evil;
the Lord accept your prayers,
and absolve you from your offences,
for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
Amen.

The Peace

Since we are justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has given us access to his grace.

The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you.

Hymn

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure,
that he should give his only Son to make a wretch his treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss; the Father turns his face away,
as wounds which mar the chosen One bring many souls to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross, my sin upon his shoulders;
ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held him there, until it was accomplished;
his dying breath has brought me life — I know that ‘it is finished.’

I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom;
but I will boast in Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from his reward? I cannot give an answer;
but this I know with all my heart, his wounds have paid my ransom.

Stuart Townend (b. 1963)

Preparation of the Table

Merciful Father,
turn us from sin to faithfulness
and from disobedience to love,
and prepare us to celebrate
the death and resurrection of Christ our Saviour
who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.
Amen.

The Eucharistic Prayer

The Lord is here.
His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is indeed right and good
to give you thanks and praise,
almighty God and everlasting Father,
through Jesus Christ your Son.

For in these forty days
you lead us into the desert of repentance
that through a pilgrimage of prayer and discipline
we may grow in grace
and learn to be your people once again.

Through fasting, prayer and acts of service
you bring us back to your generous heart.

Through study of your holy word
you open our eyes to your presence in the world
and free our hands to welcome others
into the radiant splendour of your love.

As we prepare to celebrate the Easter feast
with joyful hearts and minds
we bless you for your mercy
and join with saints and angels
for ever praising you and saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness;
grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit,
and according to your holy will,
these gifts of bread and wine may be to us
the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who, in the same night that he was betrayed,
took bread and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper
he took the cup and gave you thanks;
he gave it to them, saying:
Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died:  Christ is risen:  Christ will come again.

And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross,
his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins of the whole world;
rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension,
and looking for his coming in glory,
we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.

As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,
we bring before you this bread and this cup
and we thank you for counting us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.

Send the Holy Spirit on your people
and gather into one in your kingdom
all who share this one bread and one cup,
so that we, in the company of all the saints,
may praise and glorify you for ever,
through Jesus Christ our Lord;

by whom, and with whom, and in whom,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Lord Jesus, remember us in your kingdom
and teach us to pray.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

Breaking of the Bread

Every time we eat this bread
and drink this cup
We proclaim the Lord’s death
until he comes.

The Agnus Dei

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
grant us peace.

Giving of Communion

Jesus is the Lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world.
Blessed are those who are called to his supper.
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
but only say the word, and I shall be healed.

Today communion is received for and on behalf of all who are participating in this service. This is a time when you are invited to make your own Spiritual Communion.

Hymn

My spirit longs for thee
within my troubled breast,
though I unworthy be
of so divine a guest.

Of so divine a guest
unworthy though I be,
yet has my heart no rest
unless it come from thee.

Unless it come from thee,
in vain I look around;
in all that I can see
no rest is to be found.

No rest is to be found
but in thy blessèd love:
O let my wish be crowned,
and send it from above!

John Byrom (1692–1763)

Post Communion Prayer

Almighty God,
you have given your only Son to be for us
both a sacrifice for sin and also an example of godly life.
Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive
these his inestimable gifts,
and also daily endeavour to follow
the blessed steps of his most holy life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

God of our pilgrimage,
you have fed us with the bread of heaven.
Refresh and sustain us
as we go forward on our journey,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The Blessing and Dismissal

May God the Father, who does not despise the broken spirit,
give to you a contrite heart.
Amen.

May Christ, who bore our sins in his body on the tree,
heal you by his wounds.
Amen.

May the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth,
speak to you words of pardon and peace.
Amen.

And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.