We gathered at the Indigenous Sculpture Recognition Garden for the Acknowledgement of Country and then moved to the Gathering Space to pray in song ‘Forgive us now‘.  Singing Kyrie Eleison we moved to the sanctuary to listen to the Bible readings for Ash Wednesday and reflected on the questions offered by Valentina.

After Psalm 51:1-17
As a child of God created in God’s image-
God desires truth in our inward being.

What is your Cry? What is your plea?

After Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
We see destruction around us in multiple forms
Destruction of earth and its creatures – of all God’s creation
Creation of a God who is merciful, gracious and abounding in love.

In the destruction around us how may we as a community of faith return to our God?

After 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
God reconciles all of God’s creation in Jesus.

Among the challenges that surround us how do we love genuinely and speak truthfully?

After Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
As disciples we commit ourselves to spiritual disciples.

How do we live out our righteousness?

We offered our Prayers of the People lighting tapers and singing ‘A Song of Lament‘ concluding with The Lord’s Prayer.  Valentina invited us to participate in the Imposition of Ashes ritual.

Imposition of Ashes

Friends, God, created us out of the dust of the earth – humus.
Ashes are a sign of our mortality, but they are also a sign of our penitence.

When we come to God,
God responds with Grace.

We come before God knowing that our struggles are not ours alone.
All of creation is in need of redemption;
redemption of the God who shaped us out of the dust of the earth-humus.

In our wilderness, God grants us what we need – life breathed into our body- earth-humus.

Hope from the ashes of despair,
Healing and love with Christ through the wilderness.

You are invited to come forward now to be marked with a sign of the cross with ashes
on either your hand or forehead as you prefer.

During this ritual the musicians sang With these ashes (listen to the recording, it’s beautiful).

Hope from the ashes of despair,
Healing and love with Christ through the wilderness.