Hello! I hope you all had a wonderful beginning to your Lenten season. I’ve been meaning to hop on here and chat about our preparations, but things have just been so crazy! The weather is doing a number on our old building and I’ve been running around and dealing with prudential stuff more than usual.
We had a lovely Ash Wednesday service last night. I was a little bit scattered going into it – a hose had burst in the bathroom about two hours prior creating our own little RCC geyser (although I guess “geyser” implies the water was warm – it was COLD!), which then caused some subsequent problems with water in one of the classrooms, which then caused subsequent problems with the alarm (is it spring yet??). So when I stood up to do the welcome I just kind of took a deep breath and saw the bigger picture. Why was I there? What season were we beginning? Wasn’t I allowed to experience this worship service just as much as the others who had gathered?
So I allowed myself to worship – and it was wonderful! For the first time since I have been here, I worked collaboratively with the Music Committee on this service. Jordan played the piano through most of the service and I had readers helping with the scriptures. And Bruce – bless him! – can read my mind and saw me motion to the lights during the introit (which I forgot to dim before the service) and jumped up to subtly dim them while Jordan was singing. He did it so swiftly I think people thought we planned it that way!
I did put together a wilderness-esque altar, but the photos are on my camera. In the meantime I will share the community prayer that I wrote for last night’s service. We sang the Kýrie twice at the beginning of the prayer and then in between each stanza of the prayer (Kýrie 13 in the Taizé worship book). I’ve recently introduced Taizé songs at the beginning of pastoral prayers on Sunday mornings and people have responded positively. This was the first time I had integrated it into the prayer and I was overwhelmed with how it came together.
A few notes on how we did it …
- Jordan played underneath me as I prayed and followed along with the prayer so he could be ready to lead when I completed each stanza of the prayer. I could not have done this without his skill set – his ability to improvise until he needs to play notes on a page astounds me!
- We sang through the Kýrie twice at the beginning so people could get a sense of the song before I began the prayer.
- I did print the actually music in the bulletin (not just “Kýrie eléison”) so people could follow along with the music if they were able.
- Jordan and I were both mic’d to lead this. I think having our voices come through the sound system (especially his!) gave people the confidence to sing out. Even with both of us mic’d I could hear our small crowd singing loudly.
I realize Ash Wednesday is over, but I always say – bookmark it for next year!
Community Prayer for Ash Wednesday
Using Kýrie eléison 13
Sarah E. Weaver (C) 2015
Kýrie eléison (x2)
God on the evening of this Ash Wednesday celebration, we invite you to come into our space of worship; to fill our hearts and to ease our minds. Help us step into this Lenten season in a way that is bold, yet humble, proclaiming to the world our willingness to take this journey.
God ease our burdens and lighten our loads. Let us freely and openly confess our sins so that we can feel the living waters of baptism pour out from heaven. May our bodies, our minds and our souls be cleansed as we feel your forgiveness completely encircle us.
God in the midst of this dark and cold season, we remember those who are struggling; those who do not have shelter, those who have financial burdens, those who feel the weight of depression and anxiety and those for whom life is overwhelming. As we receive the sign of the cross this evening, may it be for us a unflinching reminder of your call to be the hands, the feet and the face of Christ to those we meet along our journey.
God as we feel your forgiveness in our lives, help us to offer that same hand of forgiveness to others. Ease the burdens that we feel and strengthen the love that we crave. May we always remember to center our lives around you so that your foundation gives us strength, courage and hope for the extraordinary.
God like water that flows in a dry dessert, your grace flows through our lives just when we need it most. May we feel that grace wash over us like the waters of baptism throughout this Lenten journey so that we can confidently practice resurrection in our lives.
And now God hear us as we join our voices with the voices of our saints in heaven and say together the prayer that Jesus taught us …