February 17, 2021 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Online at Spirit Garage Facebook Live
Holly Johnson
Ash Wednesday Worship @ Online at Spirit Garage Facebook Live

Ash Wednesday Service

Ash Wednesday invites us into the Lenten Season; the 40 days moving us towards Holy Week and Easter. On this day we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross in ashes, and hear the words, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Lenten Theme: Again and Again

Our theme this lent will is “Again and Again.” In Lent, we’re reminded that, again and again, suffering and brokenness find us. We doubt again, we lament again, we mess up again. Again and again, the story of Jesus on the cross repeats—every time lives are taken unjustly, every time the powerful choose corruption and violence, every time individuals forget how to love. With exacerbation we exclaim, “Again?! How long, O God?” And yet, in the midst of the motion blur chaos of our lives, God offers a sacred refrain: “I choose you, I love you, I will lead you to repair.” Again and again, God breaks the cycle and offers us a new way forward.

This theme provides a clear invitation in a time when much is unclear. Even if worshiping apart, we come to God again and again with our prayers, our dreams, our hopes, and our doubts. Even if from a distance, we will continue to be community to one another—especially when it’s hard—by choosing each other over and over again. We will continue to love God with the same persistence God chooses and claims us. Our sub-theme, A Lenten Refrain, speaks to the ways God can make music of our lives. “Refrain” also reminds us that Lent is a season of abstaining from certain practices in order to take on new rhythms and habits.

Rituals are important

In this season, we need rituals—both old and new—to remember and be transformed. Embodied practice builds muscle memory. Repetition helps retrain our neural pathways. We need the 46 days of Lent because this season shapes us into more faithful disciples. Join us this Lent as again and again, we bring all of who we are to God and trust that God will meet us, time and again, along the way.

On Ash Wednesday, we learn that again and again, we’re invited in–to community, to this season, to our own spiritual journey, to true transformation. We’re on this journey together, but we’re invited to turn inwards.

Our Lenten theme comes from A Sanctified Art, and this commentary on what the theme is about comes from Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity.

Before the service, get ashes ready.

Here are three ways to do that:

  1. If you have a fireplace or a fire pit in your back yard, use ashes from that.
  2. You can pick up ashes, and a whole kit for Lent, at one of the Bethlehem sites (4100 Lyndale in Minneapolis or 16023 Minnetonka Blvd in Minnetonka) at the Ash Wednesday/Lent to go Drive-through-or-walk-up event, any time between 12-1 or 4-6 PM.
  3. Take a small piece of paper, a bowl that can withstand some heat, and light the paper on fire. You could even use it as a time of confession, lighting what you want to burn away. Everything that becomes ash is all the same thing—that’s part of the point.