Oremus for Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1660s

Ash Wednesday

Antiphon1

Ant. Your mercy extends to all things, O Lord, *
and you despise none of the things you have made.
You overlook the sins of men for the sake of repentance.
You grant them your pardon,
because you are the Lord our God.
V. Have mercy on me, God, have mercy, *
for in you my soul has taken refuge.
In the shadow of your wings I take refuge, *
till the storms of destruction pass by. Wisdom 11; Psalm 57

Almighty God,
you despise nothing you have made
and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent.
Create in us new and contrite hearts,
that truly repenting of our sins,
and acknowledging our brokenness,
we may obtain from you, the God of all mercy,
full pardon and forgiveness;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Redeemer,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen. BCW

Music: https://tinyurl.com/ufxekitx

God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

HYMN: John Haynes Holmes
Tune: Meirionydd https://tinyurl.com/17xyuor9

1 The voice of God is calling
A summons unto all;
As once they heard in Zion,
So now we hear the call.
“Whom shall I send to succor
My people in their need?
Whom shall I send to loosen
The bonds of shame and greed?

2 “I hear my people crying
In cot and mine and slum;
No field or mart is silent,
No city street is dumb.
I see my people falling
In darkness and despair.
Whom shall I send to shatter
The fetters which they bear?”

3 We heed, O God, thy summons,
And answer: “Here are we!
Send us upon thine errand,
Let us thy servants be.
Our strength is dust and ashes,
Our years a passing hour;
But thou canst use our weakness
To magnify thy power.

4 “From ease and plenty save us;
From pride of place absolve;
Purge us of low desire;
Lift us to high resolve;
Take us, and make us holy;
Teach us thy will and way.
Speak, and, behold! we answer;
Command, and we obey!”

PSALMS
For psalms in contemporary language, https://tinyurl.com/y9tjh7rk

Psalm 6 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/yxx3vdzs)

1  O Lord, rebuke me not in thine indignation *
 neither chasten me in thy displeasure.
2  Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak *
 O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed.
3  My soul also is sore troubled *
 but, Lord, how long wilt thou punish me?
4  Turn thee, O Lord, and deliver my soul *
 O save me for thy mercy’s sake.
5  For in death no man remembereth thee *
 and who will give thee thanks in the pit?
6  I am weary of my groaning; every night wash I my bed *
 and water my couch with my tears.
7  My beauty is gone for very trouble *
 and worn away because of all mine enemies.
8  Away from me, all ye that work vanity *
 for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping.
9  The Lord hath heard my petition *
 the Lord will receive my prayer.
10  All mine enemies shall be confounded, and sore vexed *
 they shall be turned back, and put to shame suddenly.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.

Psalm 32 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/twtffy5)

1  Blessed is he whose unrighteousness is forgiven *
 and whose sin is covered.
2  Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth no sin *
 and in whose spirit there is no guile.
3  For while I held my tongue *
 my bones consumed away through my daily complaining.
4  For thy hand is heavy upon me day and night *
 and my moisture is like the drought in summer.
5  I will acknowledge my sin unto thee *
 and mine unrighteousness have I not hid.
6  I said, I will confess my sins unto the Lord *
 and so thou forgavest the wickedness of my sin.
7  For this shall every one that is godly make his prayer unto thee,
in a time when thou mayest be found *
 but in the great water-floods they shall not come nigh him.
8  Thou art a place to hide me in, thou shalt preserve me from trouble *
 thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.
9  I will inform thee, and teach thee in the way wherein thou shalt go *
 and I will guide thee with mine eye.
10  Be ye not like to horse and mule, which have no understanding *
 whose mouths must be held with bit and bridle, lest they fall upon thee.
11  Great plagues remain for the ungodly *
 but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord, mercy embraceth him on every side.
12  Be glad, O ye righteous, and rejoice in the Lord *
 and be joyful, all ye that are true of heart.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.

Psalm 38 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/y8u2a6mz)

1  Put me not to rebuke, O Lord, in thine anger *
 neither chasten me in thy heavy displeasure.
2  For thine arrows stick fast in me *
 and thy hand presseth me sore.
3  There is no health in my flesh, because of thy displeasure *
 neither is there any rest in my bones, by reason of my sin.
4  For my wickednesses are gone over my head *
 and are like a sore burden, too heavy for me to bear.
5  My wounds stink, and are corrupt *
 through my foolishness.
6  I am brought into so great trouble and misery *
 that I go mourning all the day long.
7  For my loins are filled with a sore disease *
 and there is no whole part in my body.
8  I am feeble, and sore smitten *
 I have roared for the very disquietness of my heart.
9  Lord, thou knowest all my desire *
 and my groaning is not hid from thee.
10  My heart panteth, my strength hath failed me *
 and the sight of mine eyes is gone from me.
11  My lovers and my neighbours did stand looking upon my trouble *
 and my kinsmen stood afar off.
12  They also that sought after my life laid snares for me *
 and they that went about to do me evil talked of wickedness,
and imagined deceit all the day long.
13  As for me, I was like a deaf man, and heard not *
 and as one that is dumb, who doth not open his mouth.
14  I became even as a man that heareth not *
 and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
15  For in thee, O Lord, have I put my trust *
 thou shalt answer for me, O Lord my God.
16  I have required that they, even mine enemies, should not triumph over me *
 for when my foot slipped, they rejoiced greatly against me.
17  And I, truly, am set in the plague *
 and my heaviness is ever in my sight.
18  For I will confess my wickedness *
 and be sorry for my sin.
19  But mine enemies live, and are mighty *
 and they that hate me wrongfully are many in number.
20  They also that reward evil for good are against me *
 because I follow the thing that good is.
21  Forsake me not, O Lord my God *
 be not thou far from me.
22  Haste thee to help me *
 O Lord God of my salvation.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.

PRAYER

O God,
none can compare with you,
for your wondrous deeds for our salvation are without number.
Make us bold witnesses to your faithfulness
that all the earth may rejoice in your love toward us
in Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen. BCW

THE WORD OF GOD

Reading: Isaiah 1.10–18

Hear the word of the Lord,
   you rulers of Sodom!
Listen to the teaching of our God,
   you people of Gomorrah!
What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
   says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt-offerings of rams
   and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
   or of lambs, or of goats.

When you come to appear before me,
   who asked this from your hand?
   Trample my courts no more;
bringing offerings is futile;
   incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation—
   I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.
Your new moons and your appointed festivals
   my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me,
   I am weary of bearing them.
When you stretch out your hands,
   I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
   I will not listen;
   your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
   remove the evil of your doings
   from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
   learn to do good;
seek justice,
   rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
   plead for the widow.

Come now, let us argue it out,
   says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
   they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson,
   they shall become like wool.

HYMN: Psalm 103; para. Helen Otte ©
Tune: Genevan 103rd

1 Come, praise the LORD, my soul, and all within me,
praise his most holy name; bring him the glory.
Forget not all his benefits to you.
He is forgiving, heals all your diseases,
redeems your life, so satisfies and pleases
that, like the eagle’s, he renews your youth.

2 To all the needy God is just and faithful.
He showed his deeds to Moses and his people.
The LORD is gracious, rich in steadfast love.
He is compassionate and slow to anger.
He will not keep his wrath on us forever.
He does not treat us as our sins deserve.

3 High as the heavens above, so great God loves us.
So far has he moved our transgressions from us
as far removed as east is from the west.
As parents have compassion on their children,
God is compassionate to those who fear him;
he knows our frame, remembers we are dust.

4 Our days are gone as quickly as a flower;
like grass, we flourish for the briefest hour.
But God’s love is forevermore the same;
from everlasting unto everlasting,
to children’s children, human love surpassing,
his love remains with all who fear his name.

5 God in his kingdom over all is ruling.
Praise him, you angels, you who do his bidding,
you mighty servants who obey his word.
Come, praise the LORD, all works of his creation.
Praise God in every part of his dominion.
Come, O my soul, forever praise the LORD.

Reading: 1 Timothy 6.6–19

Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen.

As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

HYMN: David Gambrell ©
Tune: Jefferson https://tinyurl.com/52uhg2ym

1 Tears of suff’ring—can you see them?
Living God, why hide your face?
Look with kindness on our sorrow,
show us your amazing grace.
You made mortals in your image;
would you leave us cracked and crushed?
Now reclaim and recreate us,
breathing Spirit into dust.

2 Earth is aching—do you feel it?
Living God, stretch out your hand.
Wipe away the stain of vi’lence,
soothe the fever of the land.
You gave shape to your creation,
tamed the chaos when it swirled.
Move with gentleness and power,
touch and heal our hurting world.

3 Voices groaning—will you hear them?
Living God, is it too late?
Answer misery with justice,
cast away the stones of hate.
You redeemed your chosen people,
made a passage through the sea.
Speak your Word of liberation,
come again to set us free.

4 Living God, we know you hear us;
loving One, we know you care.
We believe that you are near us,
that you still respond to prayer.
Now remember all you promised,
all you did in former days.
Show us how you still deliver—
we will gladly sing your praise!

Reading: Luke 15.11–32

Then Jesus said, ‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.” So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and travelled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.’ ” So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” And they began to celebrate.

‘Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. He replied, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.” Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, “Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!” Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.” ’

PSALM 51
(Setting by the Sons of Korah: https://tinyurl.com/19n0tt60)

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
According to your unfailing love;
According to your great compassion
Blot out my transgressions
2 Wash away all my iniquity
And cleanse me from all my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against you only have I sinned
And done what is evil in your sight,
So that you are proved right when you speak
And justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth;
Surely I was sinful at birth.
6 Surely you desire truth in the inward parts;
And you teach me wisdom,
Wisdom in the innermost place.
7 With hyssop make me clean,
Wash me whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
Let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence, O LORD
And take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of your salvation
And grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors you ways
And sinners will turn back to you.
14 Save me from the guilt upon me,
LORD who saves me,
And my tongue will sing of your righteousness
O LORD the God who saves me.
15 Open up my lips,
And I will declare your praise.16 You do not delight in sacrifices,
Or surely I would bring it;
You do not take pleasure in offerings, O LORD
17 but the sacrifices of God are a
Broken spirit and a contrite heart.
The LORD will never despise a broken spirit
And a contrite heart.18 In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
Build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
Whole burnt offerings to delight you;
Then bulls will be offered on your altar.

LITANY OF CONFESSION BCW

Let us pray.
Holy and merciful God,
we confess to you and to one another,
and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth,
that we have sinned by our own fault
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.


We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength.
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, O God.

We have not listened to your call to serve as Christ served us.
We have not been true to the mind of Christ.
We have grieved your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on us, O God.

We confess to you, O God, all our past unfaithfulness:
The pride, hypocrisy, and impatience in our lives,
we confess to you, O God.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways
and our exploitation of other people,
we confess to you, O God.

Our anger at our own frustration
and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves,
we confess to you, O God.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts,
and our dishonesty in daily life and work,
we confess to you, O God.

Our negligence in prayer and worship,
and our failure to commend the faith that is in us,
we confess to you, O God.

Accept our repentance, O God,
for the wrongs we have done.
For our neglect of human need and suffering
and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,
accept our repentance, O God.

For all false judgments,
for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors,
and for our prejudice and contempt
toward those who differ from us,
accept our repentance, O God.

For our waste and pollution of your creation
and our lack of concern for those who come after us,
accept our repentance, O God.

Restore us, O God,
and let your anger depart from us.
Favorably hear us, O God,
for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us, O God, the work of your salvation,
That we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of our Savior,
bring us with all your saints
to the joy of Christ’s resurrection.

(Plainsong Mode 2: https://tinyurl.com/yctqq8cf)DL

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

Gracious God,
out of your love and mercy
you breathed into dust the breath of life,
creating us to serve you and neighbors.
Call forth our prayers and acts of tenderness,
and strengthen us to face our mortality,
that we may reach with confidence for your mercy;
in Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen. BCW

Music: https://tinyurl.com/y9efvwm5
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen. 2 Cor. 13:14


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BCW Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1993.

EH Exciting Holiness, Ed. Brother Tristram SSF © European Province of the Society of Saint Francis, 1997

RCLP Revised Common Lectionary Prayers. © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress.

1 Adam Bartlett, Simple English Propers; audio from https://musicasacra.com/additional-publications/sep-practice-videos/ ©

The three main scripture readings are from the The New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Edition, The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer (1662).

Musical links are usually either to artists’ albums posted on Spotify or to recordings made available at smallchurchmusic.com. Audio stripped from YouTube videos is footnoted accordingly above.

Compilation © 2020 Stephen T. Benner. All links worked at the time they were created, but I cannot accept responsibility for their content or any damage resulting from their use. The linked content is under the control of the respective content creators and is subject to change at any time. Any copyright texts included in this compilation are provided for non-commercial purposes related to study or worship. Please contact the respective copyright holders for permission to use the texts in other contexts.

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