Feb 24

Ash Wednesday (Year A)

praying handsWorship Ideas

  • Let’s be honest: the RCL readings for Ash Wednesday are the same every year.  If you are anything like me, you may be feeling as though you have already tried everything and said everything.  Trust me, though — you haven’t.  There are still plenty of things to say and plenty of things to try.
  • Have you seen what The Worship Closet has posted in previous years?  Don’t forget to look at the notes on Year B and Year C.
  • Inspired by Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, invite the congregation to write their own personal confessions on paper hearts. Then, invite the congregation to “rend their hearts” (tear them) as an act of confession and desire to return to God.
  • Take your Ash Wednesday service to the streets, daring to offer the sacrifices that God really wants: sharing food with the hungry, giving clothing to those in need, and reconciling with one another.  Bring the words of Isaiah 58:1-12 to life as you serve free lunches to the homeless in your community and/or distribute handmade scarves to everyone you meet (offering to say a prayer with them, or including a note that the scarf has been prayed-over at your church).
  • Inspired by Psalm 51:1-17, wash one another’s hands (using a warm wash cloth and basin of water; or, moisturizing hand wipes).  This is an activity that you can do outside of your church, too.
  • How will you commit to “take on” the positive qualities described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10?  Invite the congregation to contemplate the practices they will “take on” during the season of Lent.
  • Considering how Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 emphasizes the importance of being modest when we practice our faith, conduct as much of the service as possible in silence (instead of making a “show” of things).

Liturgy Suggestions

Be sure to check the liturgy suggestions for Year B and Year C, too.

Call to Worship (based on Psalm 51:1-17)

O God, have mercy on us, we pray.

In your mercy, make us clean from our sins.

Wipe away every failing and make us new in your sight.

Restore us, deliver us, and re-create us, O Lord.

Prayer of Confession (inspired by 1 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10)

Wondrous God, we confess that we have not listened for your Word as we should. We confess that we have placed obstacles in the way of our neighbors. We are guilty of being proud and arrogant. Forgive us for our foolish and hateful ways. Forgive us for taking your amazing gift of grace for granted. Redirect us, by your Spirit, that we may be your faithful people once again.


  1. Kathleen Splitt

    Amy, I appreciate your regular postings, and the email that comes to my inbox. I especially appreciate this posting for Ash Wednesday and expect I will use several of your ideas. I wonder if you could explain (for my obvious feeble mind, in that I don’t get what is probably quite obvious to most of your readers) what you meant by making a “shoe” of things . . . .?

    Thank you,
    Kathleen Splitt

    1. Amy Loving

      Oops! That was a typo, actually – thanks for catching it! It should say “show”.

Comments have been disabled.