Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Ash Wednesday Liturgy, 7:00 p.m.

                The First Day of Lent

Ash Wednesday

March 2, 2022, 7:00 P.M.





The Church embraces the sign of ashes to begin the penitential season of Lent. In Lent we recall not only our physical mortality, but our thrall to ‘death of the spirit:’ everything that separates us from God and our neighbor. We fast from the good things of the earth to remind us of our dependence upon God for all things and how often we have declared independence from him in reaching out for what is not ours. We intensify our prayer life; we give to those in need, in remembrance that the good we do to our neighbor we do to Christ himself.  In all of these things we seek to live the life of turning toward God that is true repentance.


The readings for the Ash Wednesday service remind us of the traditional practices of Lent. The passage from Joel calls the people to a solemn assembly, a fast, urging them ‘Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.’ This was an ancient Israelite liturgical description of God, found in many books of the Old Testament. The God of the Old Testament is the gracious God who calls us and seeks us out in Jesus Christ.


Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of confession and repentance after his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband Uriah. Though the focus is on David’s sin, the psalm can also be a reminder of our desire to judge others, as we are less likely than God to forgive David’s brutal victimization of others. However, we are given confidence when we remember that God’s mercy extends to all, and that indeed God works true repentance in the sinner and not simply a pretense of piety.


Saint Paul calls the Corinthians to be reconciled to God. The moment of the Word’s encounter with the hearer is the ‘acceptable time,’ the ‘day of salvation’ which the Psalms promise.


In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls his disciples, who are to be ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘light of the world,’ to avoid almsgiving, prayer, and fasting which are mere pretenses in order to gain approval of self and others. Rather these practices are to be done without drawing attention to the self – they are directed toward God. We are promised that there will receive a reward – and the reward is God himself, for these spiritual disciplines bring forth fruits of the Spirit.




The congregation and ministers gather in silence.



Choir    Psalm 51:2-13 – Peter Hallock     


Antiphon:  Have mercy on me, O God, according to your lovingkindness.


2Wash me through and through from my wickedness

and cleanse me from my sin.

3For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.

5 And so you are justified when you speak and upright in your judgment.

6Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth,

a sinner from my mother’s womb.

 7For behold, you look for truth deep within me,

and will make me understand wisdom secretly.

8Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure;

wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.

9Make me hear of joy and gladness,

that the body you have broken may rejoice.

10Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.

11Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

12Cast me not away from your presence

and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

13Give me the joy of your saving help again

and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.


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.                         Antiphon


The pastor addresses the People.


Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful, were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. In this manner, the whole Congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need that all Christians continually have to renew our repentance and faith.


I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent: by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and alms-giving; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.



Silence for reflection and self-examination.


The pastor leads the People in confession:


Most holy and merciful Father:

  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, Lord.


We have been deaf 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, Lord.


We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness. The pride, hypocrisy, and impatience in our lives,

  we confess to you, Lord.


Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of those made in your image,

  we confess to you, Lord.


Our anger at the frustration of our desires, and our envy of others,

  we confess to you, Lord.


Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work,

  we confess to you, Lord.


Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to commend the faith that is in us,

  we confess to you, Lord.


Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done. For our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,

  accept our repentance, Lord.


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, Lord.


For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us,

  accept our repentance, Lord.


Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us.

  Hear us, Lord, for your mercy is great. Amen





Those who desire to receive ashes come forward to the head of the aisle.


The pastor applies ashes to the forehead of each person with the words:


Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

R.            Amen



After all who desire ashes have received them, the pastor leads the People in the conclusion of the confession.



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 your Son, our Lord,

  bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.


The pastor addresses the People.


Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, does not desire the death of sinners, but rather that they may turn from their wickedness and live. Therefore we implore him to grant us true repentance and his Holy Spirit; that those things may please him which we do on this day, that the rest of our life may be pure and holy, and that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.




Silence for reflection.



Prayer of the Day

Almighty and ever-living God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and honest hearts, so that, truly repenting of our sins, we may receive from you, the God of all mercy, full pardon and forgiveness through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.                                                   




First Reading           Joel 2:1–2, 12–17


Blow the trumpet in Zion;

                sound the alarm on my holy mountain!

                Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,

                for the day of the LORD is coming, it is near —

                2 a day of darkness and gloom,

                a day of clouds and thick darkness!



                Like blackness spread upon the mountains

                a great and powerful army comes;

                their like has never been from of old,

                nor will be again after them

                in ages to come.

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?'"


The Word of the Lord.                  

  Thanks be to God.


PSALM 103:8-14

8 The Lord is full of compas- | sion and mercy,*

                slow to anger and | of great kindness.

9 He will not al- | ways accuse us,*

                nor will he keep his an- | ger forever.

10 He has not dealt with us according | to our sins,*

                nor rewarded us according | to our wickedness.

11 For as the heavens are high | above the earth,*

                so is his mercy great upon | those who fear him.

12 As far as the east is | from the west,*

                so far has he removed our | sins from us.

13 As a father cares | for his children,*

                so does the Lord care for | those who fear him.

14 For he himself knows whereof | we are made;*

                he remembers that we | are but dust.                                        R        


Second Reading                     2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10


20 We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,

                "At an acceptable time I have listened to you,

                and on a day of salvation I have helped you."

See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3 We are putting no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see — we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always

rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

  The Word of the Lord.                                                 Thanks be to God.



Joel 2:13                                                                         Setting by Kevin Norris

Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.


Gospel             Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21


The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.   

  Glory to you, O Lord.


[Jesus said to the disciples:] 1 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.


The Gospel of the Lord.                

  Praise to you, O Christ.



Choir Anthem                                                                                  Lord, Create in Me

Text/ Psalm 51:10-18, 16-17; Music/ K. Lee Scott


Lord, create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me.

Lord, create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence,

and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Lord, create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and sustain me with a firm and willing spirit.

Lord, create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me.

You do not delight in sacrifice;

the sacrifice of God is a broken, contrite spirit.

Lord, create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me.


SERMON                                                                                                           Pastor Frontz



XHymn of the Day              

Savior, When in Dust to You                               Green LBW 91                


1      Savior, when in dust to you

        low we bow in homage due;

        when, repentant, to the skies

        scarce we lift our weeping eyes;

        oh, by all your pains and woe

        suffered once for us below,

        bending from your throne on high,

        hear our penitential cry!


2      By your helpless infant years,

        by your life of want and tears,

        by your days of deep distress

        in the savage wilderness,

        by the dread, mysterious hour

        of the insulting tempter's pow'r,

        turn, oh, turn a fav'ring eye;

        hear our penitential cry!


3      By your hour of dire despair,

        by your agony of prayer,

        by the cross, the nail, the thorn,

        piercing spear, and torturing scorn,

        by the gloom that veiled the skies

        o'er the dreadful sacrifice,

        listen to our humble sigh;

        hear our penitential cry!


4     By your deep expiring groan,

        by the sad sepulchral stone,

        by the vault whose dark abode

        held in vain the rising God,

        oh, from earth to heav'n restored,

        mighty, reascended Lord,

        bending from your throne on high,

        hear our penitential cry!


Text: Robert Grant, 1779-1838, alt.                                                                                         


Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.


Silence is kept.


For the health and well-being of the whole Church, let us pray to the Lord.

  Lord, have mercy.


For the mission of our faith family, let us pray to the Lord.

  Lord, have mercy.


For our bishop, Dan; our pastors, Maurice and Harvey, and all pastors, let us pray to the Lord.

  Lord, have mercy.


For those throughout the world who prepare for baptism and first communion in this season of Lent, let us pray to the Lord.

  Lord, have mercy.


For those who hold civil authority in our nation and in the nations of the world, let us pray to the Lord.

  Lord, have mercy.


For the victims of war, violence, and oppression, and for the restoration of peace and tranquility, let us pray to the Lord.

  Lord, have mercy.


For the sick in body, mind, and spirit; for those who are in prison; for the poor and those with no one to care for them, and for those we name before you:


The pastor reads the names and situations submitted for prayer.

The people may offer spoken or silent intercessions.


Let us pray to the Lord.

  Lord, have mercy.


In hope for the time when our sinful selves are fully purged in the waters of baptism, and we rejoice with the saints in the revelation of Christ, let us pray to the Lord.

  Lord, have mercy.


The pastor concludes the prayers:


Into your hands, Father, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your steadfast love, through Jesus Christ our Lord.




Since we are justified by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

who has given us access to his grace.

The peace of the Lord be with you always.   

  And also with you.


The people exchange a sign of peace with the simple words, Peace be with you.



The Lord’s Table is prepared.



OFFERTORY     Sung by the choir

Psalm 51:10-12             Setting by Kevin Norris

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with your free Spirit.


Let us pray. Merciful Father,

  turn us from sin to faithfulness            

  and from disobedience to love,

  and prepare us to celebrate

  the death and resurrection

  of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen





The Lord be with you.

  And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

  We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

  It is right to give him thanks and praise.


The pastor leads the people in praying the Eucharistic canon:


We give you thanks, Father,

through Jesus Christ, your beloved Son,

whom you sent in this end of the ages

to save and redeem us and to proclaim to us your will.


He is your Word,

                inseparable from you.

Through him you created all things,

                and in him you take delight.

He is your Word,

                sent from heaven to a virgin's womb.

He there took on our nature and our lot

                and was shown forth as your Son,

                born of the Holy Spirit and of the virgin Mary.



It is he, our Lord Jesus, who fulfilled all your will

                and won for you a holy people;

                he stretched out his hands in suffering

                in order to free from suffering those who trust you.


It is he who, handed over to a death he freely accepted,

                in order to destroy death, to break the bonds of the evil one,

                to crush hell underfoot, to give light to the righteous,

                to establish his covenant, and to show forth the resurrection,

                taking bread and giving thanks to you, said:

Take and eat; this is my body, broken for you.

Do this for the remembrance of me.


In the same way he took the cup, gave thanks,

                and gave it for all to drink, saying:

This is my blood poured out for you.

Do this for the remembrance of me.


Remembering, then, his death and resurrection,

                we lift this bread and cup before you,

                giving you thanks that you have made us worthy

                to stand before you and to serve you as your priestly people.


And we ask you:

                Send your Spirit upon these gifts of your Church;

                gather into one all who share this bread and wine;

                fill us with your Holy Spirit to establish our faith in truth,

                that we may praise and glorify you

through your Son Jesus Christ.


Through him all glory and honor are yours,

                Almighty Father, with the Holy Spirit,

                in your holy Church both now and forever.



In the presence of Christ, we pray to his Father using the words he gave us.


Christ is in our midst.

                By the power of his Spirit,

                we pray to his Father, saying:


                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;

                and lead us not into temptation,

                                but deliver us from evil.

                For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

                                forever and ever. Amen


Where your treasure is,

  there your heart shall be also.                                 Matthew 6:21


We adore Christ, present in bread and wine.



Admission to the Sacrament is by invitation of the Lord, presented through the Church to those who are baptized.


They may receive the Lord’s Body and Blood who are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, who commune in their home churches, and who believe that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is truly present in, with, and under the forms of bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.


The communicants will be invited forward one family unit at a time. Please do not come forward until the pastor directs you to come forward, do not approach all the way to the table until the pastor has retreated.


 When the pastor says ‘The body of Christ, given for you,’ eat the bread. When the pastor says, ‘The blood of Christ, shed for you,’ drink the wine.  Please take the plate and the glass(es) and place them on the table that is indicated.



                Victim Divine, Your Grace We Claim                Green LBW 202

1      Victim Divine, your grace we claim,

        as here your precious death we show;

        once offered up, a spotless lamb,

        in your great temple here below,

        you did for humankind atone;

        and now you stand before the throne.


2      You stand within the holiest place,

        as once for guilty sinners slain;

        your blood for sinners intercedes,

        redemption for the world to gain.

        Your blood shall still our ransom be,

        the payment made to set us free.


3      We have no need to go to heav’n

        to bring the long-sought Savior down;

        you are to all already giv’n,

        and even now your banquet crown.

        To ev’ry faithful soul appear,

        and show your very presence here.


Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788, alt.


After all have returned to their places, the congregation stands at the direction of the pastor.


The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep

you in his grace. 



Post-Communion Prayer                          

Almighty God, you gave your Son both as a sacrifice for sin and a model

of the godly life. Enable us to receive him always with thanksgiving, and

to conform our lives to his; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.




Silence for meditation.



God the Father, who does not despise the broken spirit,

give to you a contrite heart.



God the Son, who bore our sins in his body on the tree,

heal you by his wounds.



God the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth,

speak to you words of pardon and peace.



Almighty God, Father, X Son, and Holy Spirit,

bless you now and forever.




Jesus, Your Blood and Righteousness      Green LBW 302         


1      Jesus, your blood and righteousness

        my beauty are, my glorious dress;

        mid flaming worlds, in these arrayed,

        with joy shall I lift up my head.


2      Bold shall I stand in that great day,

        cleansed and redeemed, no debt to pay;

        for by your cross, absolved I am

        from sin and guilt, from fear and shame.


3      Lord, I believe your precious blood,

        which at the mercy seat of God

        pleads for the captives’ liberty,

        was also shed in love for me.


4     Lord, I believe, were sinners more

        than sands upon the ocean shore,

        you have for all a ransom paid,

        for all a full atonement made.


5      When from the dust of death I rise

        to claim my mansion in the skies,

        this then shall be my only plea:

        Christ Jesus lived and died for me.


6      Then shall I praise you and adore

        your blessed name forevermore,

        who once, for me and all you made,

        an everlasting ransom paid.


Text: Nicolaus L. von Zinzendorf, 1700-1760; tr. John Wesley, 1703-1791, alt.


Go in peace. Serve the Lord.

 Thanks be to God.



EVENING PRAYER will be held each Wednesday in Lent, beginning on March 9 at 6:30 p.m. All are encouraged to intensify the life of prayer in Lent through these services.


OUR PURPLE LENTEN OFFERING ENVELOPES WILL GO TO SUPPORT the NALC Disaster Response, which is active responding in the name of and with the support of NALC Congregations to those affected by natural disaster in the United States. You may bring these offerings to Wednesday Evening Prayer or on Sundays, or mail them to the church. Learn more about the NALC Disaster Response at

EASTER FLOWER SIGN UP SHEETS are available in the Narthex. Please make your selections by Sunday March 27, 2022.  Lilies, Mums, Hyacinths, and Tulips are available. Costs and color selections are listed on the sheets.



From Sundays and Copyright 2022 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #20540.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, 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.

Praying Hands, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved February 14, 2022]. Original source:

Additional liturgical material from Common Worship: Times and Seasons, copyright the Archbishop’s Council of the Church of England, 2006; and Book of Common Prayer 2019, by the Anglican Church in North America.


St Stephen Lutheran Church

55 Forsythe Road

Pittsburgh PA 15220

(412) 279-5868


Saturday Evening Worship – 6:30 pm

Sunday Morning Worship – 10:30 am