A Welcoming Community of Faith, Hope, Mission
& Outreach sharing Christ’s love since 1825.
Ash Wednesday emphasizes a dual encounter. We encounter our own mortality,
and we encounter God through confessing our sins within the community of faith.
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GATHERING & PRAISE
⭻CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: As we enter into this season of Lent, we remember the words of your servant Paul, who said, “the wages of sin are death.” (Rom.6:23)
All: Lord have mercy.
Leader: Even though we have been bought with the blood of Christ, we often turn away from you and towards our own wicked desires.
All: Lord have mercy.
Leader: As we prepare to receive ashes this day, remind us that we only have one life to live. Remind us of our baptism, where we turned from death to life.
All: Keep us in your faithful arms until you return to judge the living and the dead.
Leader: Come, Let us worship the Lord.
OPENING PRAYER Ash Wednesday UMH 353
All: O God, maker of everything and judge of all that you have made, from the dust of the earth you have formed us and from the dust of death you would raise us up. By the redemptive power of the cross, create in us clean hearts and put within us a new spirit, that we may repent of our sins and lead lives worthy of your calling, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
⭻OPENING HYMN Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days UMH 269
Lord who throughout these forty days
For us did fast and pray
Teach us with You to mourn our sins
And close by You to stay
As You with Satan did contend
And did the victory win
O give us strength in You to fight
In You to conquer sin
As You did hunger and did thirst
So teach us gracious Lord
To die to self and so to live
By Your most holy word
And thro' these days of penitence
And thro' Your passion tide
Forevermore in life and death
O Lord with us abide
Abide with us that through this life
Of doubts and hope and pain
As Easter of unending joy
We may at last attain
LISTENING FOR GOD’S WORD
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Pastor: Merciful Savior, open our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy Spirit, and wherever we need You most this holy night, enter in and change us, we pray. Amen.
OLD TESTAMENT LESSON Joel 2:12-17
12 Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 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.
14 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?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sanctify a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
16 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.
17 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?’”
RESPONSIVE READING Psalm 51:1-17 UMH 785
Prayer for Cleansing and Pardon
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 Behold, I was born iniquity, and I have
been sinful since 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.
⭻GOSPEL LESSON Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
6 “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5 “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
MESSAGE Participate in Jesus’ Passion Rev. Jin Kook Kim
Good evening, Church Family! Today is Ash Wednesday and the first day of Lent. We observe the Lenten season every year following the Christian calendar. There are many reasons that we observe Lent every year. Tonight, let us consider the meaning of Lent together.
My youngest child, Gian, became four years old last week, and my family celebrated her birthday. Her birthday is meaningful not only for her but also for all my family. Her birthday was the day she was born, which means she began her life in the world. It was the day she started her life journey. Her birthday is meaningful to my family because her birth, her being, changed our lives as we accept her in our lives.
All of us celebrate our birthday, our family members' birthday, and friends' birthday because it is meaningful to us, and we thank them for their being and their presence with us. Their being in our lives changed our lives. We also celebrate wedding anniversary because it is meaningful for us. The day of the wedding is the official day we decided and committed ourselves to each other for walking together for our life journey. Our lives were changed by marriage. Our lives had been filled with love through marriage. So, we celebrate the anniversary every year.
What is Lent? Why do we observe the season every year? And what meanings does Lent have? Lent has important meanings, such as the reminder of our mortality, God's love, and forgiveness, etc. Tonight, I want us to consider one of them. It is Jesus' sacrificial love.
Jesus died on the cross. It was a brutal execution. He was whipped and beaten. His hands and feet were nailed. His side was speared. He couldn't breathe well on the cross. The time from when he was hung on the cross to when he died was not short but hours. Sufferings applied not only to his body but also to his heart and mind. He was insulted and mocked. A thorn crown was put on his head. People spat at him.
As we know, he was innocent. The innocent Jesus died on the cross with huge passion. We observe Lent not for the issue of justice that an innocent man died but for our relationship with Jesus: Jesus and us, Jesus' death and God's forgiveness, and Jesus' death and our salvation. Jesus' death is meaningful to us because he died for us. Instead of us, sinful people, the innocent Jesus died on the cross. And through his sacrificial love, God forgave us and made us free from our sins. Lent is the time to meditate on Jesus, who died instead of us, who chose to pay the cost of our sins, who made us free from our faults, and who gave us a new life in him. We sometimes miss the point that Jesus died instead of us and that Jesus endured all sufferings due to our sins.
Have you watched a movie titled Unforgivable? There are two sisters in the movie. The big sister was grown up, and the younger was five years old. Their mother passed, and the father didn't care for his children. The big sister had raised and cared for the younger sister as if she was her mother. There was an accident, and the big sister had been in prison for 20 years in charge of murder. At the end of the movie, the truth is revealed. In fact, the accident was made by the younger sister, although she could remember the accident because of trauma. The big sister chose to be in prison to make her sister free from the charge because she loved her sister so much. The younger sister was raised in a good and loving foster care family with freedom while the big sister was in prison to pay her fault. The big sister's sacrifice gave the younger sister a new life.
Jesus died instead of us because Jesus loved us. Jesus paid the cost of our sins by his death on the cross. Jesus' sacrificial love gave us freedom, God's forgiveness, and salvation. Jesus gave us a new life in him. We should be dead, but Jesus saved us. We should pay the cost of our sins, but Jesus paid all with his life instead of us. Jesus changed our lives by giving us a new life. This is our relationship with Jesus. That is how Jesus' death relates to us and our lives.
Lent is the opportunity for us to meditate on Jesus' sacrificial love and ourselves deeply and deeply. Let us not miss this opportunity this year but catch it and make it ours. I will deliver the messages regarding Jesus as the savior Sundays in the Lenten season. We will have the Lenten study every Wednesday night with the book Witness at the Cross. We will have the Lenten message through the daily devotional with the Upper Room. I encourage you to join us in worship service every Sunday, special services in Holy Week, The Lenten Study, and the daily devotional to meditate on Jesus' sacrificial love and ourselves.
Lent is the opportunity for us to participate in Jesus' passion. Participating in Jesus' passion in ways is an old tradition in the history of Christianity. That is useful and helps us to go deeper in faith. That is not to help us be free from the sense of guilt or lighten Jesus' sufferings or burden. Participating in Jesus' passion helps us feel and understand how huge Jesus' sacrificial love is for us and reminds ourselves of God's grace and mercy through God's forgiveness and salvation. As we read the gospel of Matthew, almsgiving, prayers, and fast are good ways to participate in Jesus' passion. For example, we can fast a meal a week if able. When we fast a meal, the feeling of hunger will remind us of Jesus' passion, who didn't eat for a day or more. Jesus couldn't eat for our sins instead of us. We can fast snack, drink, game, social media, etc., that entertain us. We can donate food to the church food pantry as much as a meal price that we fast. Through that, we sacrifice our resources, finance, and food and participate in Jesus' passion. By doing that, we can participate in Jesus' passion, although Jesus' passion was huge more than what we give up. Praying is one of the good ways to participate in Jesus' passion. As Jesus prayed on the cross for God's forgiveness for those who crucified him, we can participate in Jesus' passion by praying for others for their issues and troubles with all our hearts, minds, souls, and spirit by setting a time not just once but regularly until their problems are solved. By doing that, we share their burdens and feel their hearts and participate in their agony. There would be many other ways that we can participate in Jesus' passion. Please plan to participate in Jesus' passion and carry them out to feel Jesus' sacrificial love in your heart deeply.
You have received the bracelet when you come into Sanctuary. Please wear it now and during the Lenten season. It is not for being your accessory but for being a reminder of Jesus' sacrificial love and your relationship with God. Let us think of Jesus on the cross for us, whenever we see your bracelet. If someone asks you, "what is this?" please let them know you observe Lent thinking of Jesus' sacrificial love and your relationship with God.
Church family, Lent began today. It is the opportunity for us to meditate on Jesus' sacrificial love and participate in Jesus' passion. Let us be with Jesus in his passion and meditate on the Jesus on the cross, who died instead of us during this Lenten season. May God's Spirit guide all of us in our Lenten journey with love, grace, hope, and peace! Amen!
REFLECTION HYMN Just as I Am, Without One Plea UMH 357
Just as I am without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
sight, riches, healing of the mind,
yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, thy love unknown
hath broken every barrier down;
now, to be thine, yea Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
RESPONDING TO GOD’S WORD
PRAYER OF CONFESSION (from the UM Book of Worship)
Pastor: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world. Most Merciful God, we are children of dust and unworthy of the favors and goodness you shower upon us. We have not loved you as you have loved us, nor have we lived as we ought, and our years are soon gone.
All: O God, have mercy upon us.
Pastor: Lift us above every past regret and present failure; reveal to us our true selves. Give us grace to accept your mercy, and the courage to live by your promises.
All: Grant us your forgiveness and peace. We have no other hope, except in You. Amen.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE
Pastor: God’s love is never ending. God is always present with and for us. As we journey through the days of Lent, may we come to know even more completely the depth and wideness of God’s love. In the love of Christ, you are forgiven.
All: In the love of Christ, you are also forgiven. Amen.
THE LENTEN ASHES
Silent Prayer of Preparation and the Lord’s Prayer
All: 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. Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
⭻ THE ASHES & THE CROSS & THANKSGIVING
⭻CLOSING HYMN Amazing Grace UMH 378
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind but now I see
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
The Lord has promised good to me
His Word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures
Through many dangers toils and snares
I have already come
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home
Yea when this flesh and heart shall fail
And mortal life shall cease
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace
When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun
Pastor: O God of our salvation, as we go forth into this season of repentance and reflection, of turning and returning, may we trust in your mercy, seek Christ’s reign in our lives, and rely upon the Spirit's power.
All: Through Jesus Christ, who is the path to forgiveness and new life, we pray. Amen.
⭻ All who are able, please stand.