Grace Lutheran Church
Grace Lutheran Church
Ash Wednesday
February 14, 2018

Heart to Heart: Sackloth and Ashes to Robes of Righteousness


Sackcloth and ashes—the signs of mourning and repentance in the pages of Scripture. Today, we begin our Lenten journey. Today, we begin our return from exile. This is not a journey that begins with rejoicing and excitement; it begins with ashes. Our Lenten journey begins with ashes on our foreheads, a sign of broken and repentant hearts. God does not desire our sacrifices, as if we could atone for or cover our own sin. God desires broken and contrite hearts which He will not despise (Psalm 51:17). Any efforts to cover up, to pay for, or to atone for our own sin only results in more sackcloth and ashes, even death. It is God who responds to the ashes of our repentance by sending His only-begotten Son. Jesus Christ, on the cross, has washed our foreheads of the ashes of our sins, has removed the sackcloth of our guilt, and has clothed us in His robes of righteousness and garments of salvation. The pure and holy white linen garments that adorn the saints in heaven cover us as we long for the day when we will join them around the throne.


Ash Wednesday Address

P Dear brothers and sisters of our Lord Jesus Christ, on this day the Church begins a holy season of prayerful and penitential reflection. Our attention is especially directed to the holy sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.


From ancient times the season of Lent has been kept as a time of special devotion, self-denial, and humble repentance born of a faithful heart that dwells confidently on His Word and draws from it life and hope.


Let us pray that our dear Father in heaven, for the sake of His beloved Son and in the power of His Holy Spirit, might richly bless this Lententide for us so that we may come to Easter with glad hearts and keep the feast in sincerity and truth.




Silence for reflection.


Litany for Ash Wednesday

P O Lord,

C have mercy.

P O Christ,

C have mercy.

P O Lord,

C have mercy.

P O Christ,

C hear us.

P God the Father in heaven,

C have mercy.

P God the Son, Redeemer of the world,

C have mercy.

P God the Holy Spirit,

C have mercy.

P Be gracious to us.

C Spare us, good Lord.

P Be gracious to us.

C Help us, good Lord.

P By the mystery of Your holy incarnation;
by Your holy nativity;
by Your baptism, fasting, and temptation;
by Your agony and bloody sweat;
by Your cross and passion;
by Your precious death and burial;
by Your glorious resurrection and ascension;
and by the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter:

C Help us, good Lord.

P In all time of our tribulation;
in all time of our prosperity;
in the hour of death;
and in the day of judgment:

C Help us, good Lord.

P We poor sinners implore You

C to hear us, O Lord.

P To prosper the preaching of Your Word;
to bless our prayer and meditation;
to strengthen and preserve us in the true faith;
and to give heart to our sorrow and strength to our repentance:

C We implore You to hear us, good Lord.

P To draw all to Yourself;
to bless those who are instructed in the faith;
to watch over and console the poor, the sick, the distressed, the lonely, the forsaken, the abandoned, and all who stand in need of our prayers;
to give abundant blessing to all works of mercy;
and to have mercy on us all:

C We implore You to hear us, good Lord.

P To turn our hearts to You;
to turn the hearts of our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers;
and graciously to hear our prayers:

C We implore You to hear us, good Lord.

P Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,

C we implore You to hear us.

P Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,

C have mercy.

P Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,

C have mercy.

P Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,

C grant us Your peace.

P O Christ,

C hear us.

P O Lord,

C have mercy.

P O Christ,

C have mercy.

P O Lord,

C have mercy. Amen.

P O God, you desire not the death of sinners, but rather that they turn from their wickedness and live. We implore You to have compassion on the frailty of our mortal nature, for we acknowledge that we are dust and to dust we shall return. Mercifully pardon our sins that we may obtain the promises You have laid up for those who are repentant; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C Amen.




The Imposition of Ashes


The ushers will dismiss the congregation by pew in similar fashion to communion distribution. Those who desire to receive the imposition of ashes may come forward.


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

C Amen.


After receiving the ashes, each person returns to his/her place in silence.



P The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.

C A broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.


LSB 419

Savior, When in Dust to Thee



P Beloved in the Lord, it is our intention to receive the Holy Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which he strengthens our faith by giving us His body to eat and His blood to drink. Therefore, it is proper that we diligently examine ourselves, as St. Paul urges us to do, for this holy Sacrament has been instituted for the special comfort of those who are troubled because of their sin and who humbly confess their sins, fear God's wrath, and hunger and thirst for righteousness.


But when we examine our hearts and consciences, we find nothing in us but sin and death, from which we are incapable of delivering ourselves. Therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ has had mercy on us. For our benefit He became man so that He might fulfill for us the whole will and law of God and, to deliver us, took upon Himself our sin and the punishment we deserve.


So that we may more confidently believe this and be strengthened in the faith and in holy living, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread, broke it, and gave it to His disciples and said: "Take, eat; this is My body, which is givern for you." It is as if He said, "I became man, and all that I do and suffer is for your good. As a pledge of this, I give you My body to eat."


In the same way also He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying: "Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins." Again, it is as if He said, "I have had mercy on you by taking into Myself all your iniquities. I give Myself into death, shedding My blood to obtain grace and forgiveness of sins, and to comfort and establish the new testament, which gives forgiveness and everlasting salvation. As a pledge of this, I give you My blood to drink."


Therefore, whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup, confidently believing this Word and promise of Christ, dwells in Christ and Christ in him and has eternal life.


We should also do this in remembrance of Him, showing His deaththat He was delivered for our offenses and raised for our justification. Giving Him our most heartfelt thanks, we take up our cross and follow Him and, according to His commandment, love one another as He has loved us. For we are all one bread and one body, even as we are all partakers of this one bread and drink from the one cup. For just as the one cup is filled with the wine of many grapes and one bread made from countless grains, so also we, being many, are one body in Christ. Because of Him, we love one another, not only in word, but in deed and in truth.


May the almighty and merciful God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by His Holy Spirit, accomplish this in us.

C Amen.

P Having heard the Word of God, let us confess our sins to Him, imploring Him for the sake of His Son Jesus Christ to grant us forgiveness.




P I now ask you before God, who searches the heart:

Do you confess that you have sinned against God and deserved His wrath and punishment? - Then declare so by saying: I do confess.

C I do confess.

P Indeed, you should confess, for Holy Scripture declares, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."

Do you repent of all your sins committed in thought, word and deed? Then declare so by saying: I do repent.

C I do repent.

P Indeed, you should repent, as did the penitent sinners: King David, who prayed for a contrite heart; Peter, who wept bitterly; the sinful woman; the prodigal son; and others.

Do you believe that God, by grace for Jesus' sake, will forgive you all your sins? Then declare so by saying: I do believe.

C I do believe.

P Indeed, you should believe, for Holy Scripture declares, "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

Do you promise that with the aid of the Holy Spirit you will henceforth amend your sinful life? Then declare so by saying: I do promise.

C I do promise.

P Indeed, you should so promise, for Christ, the Lord, says, "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

Finally, do you believe that through me, a called servant of God, you will receive the forgiveness of all of your sins? Then declare so by saying: I do believe.

C I do believe.


P Upon this your confession, I, by virtue of my office, as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace of God unto all of you, and in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

C Amen.


P Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. Go + in peace.

C Amen.



Salutation and Collect of the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, You despise nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.




Joel 2:12–19

Old Testament Reading

12“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,

“return to me with all your heart,

with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

13and rend your hearts and not your garments.”

Return to the Lord, your God,

for he is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;

and he relents over disaster.

14Who 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?

15Blow the trumpet in Zion;

consecrate a fast;

call a solemn assembly;

16gather the people.

Consecrate the congregation;

assemble the elders;

gather the children,

even nursing infants.

Let the bridegroom leave his room,

and the bride her chamber.

17Between the vestibule and the altar

let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep

and say, “Spare your people, O Lord,

and make not your heritage a reproach,

a byword among the nations.

Why should they say among the peoples,

‘Where is their God?’”

18Then the Lord became jealous for his land

and had pity on his people.

19The Lord answered and said to his people,

“Behold, I am sending to you

grain, wine, and oil,

and you will be satisfied;

and I will no more make you

a reproach among the nations.


Revelation 7:9–14


9After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.




LSB 157

Verse for Lent


Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21

Holy Gospel

1[Jesus said:] “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

2“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6But when 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[Jesus said:] “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 

17But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.



Nicene Creed

C I believe in one God,

the Father Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth

and of all things visible and invisible.


And in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the only-begotten Son of God,

begotten of His Father before all worlds,

God of God, Light of Light,

very God of very God,

begotten, not made,

being of one substance with the Father,

by whom all things were made;

who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven

and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary

and was made man;

and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.

He suffered and was buried.

And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures

and ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of the Father.

And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead,

whose kingdom will have no end.


And I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord and giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,

who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church,

I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,

and I look for the resurrection of the dead

and the life + of the world to come. Amen.




We Are Exiles from the Garden



(Click on link above to hear the sermon.)




LSB 192



The Offering, gathered at the entrance to the service, is now presented to the Lord.


Prayer of the Church

Lord God, heavenly Father, we offer before You our common supplications for the well-being of Your Church throughout the world. So guide and govern it by Your Holy Spirit that all who profess themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Send down upon all ministers of the Gospel and upon the congregations committed to their care the healthful spirit of Your grace that they may please You in all things.

Behold in mercy all who are in authority over us. Supply them with Your blessing that they may be inclined to Your will and walk according to Your commandments. We humbly ask Your abiding presence in every situation that You would make known Your ways among us. Preserve those who travel, satisfy the wants of Your creatures, and help those who call upon You in any need that they may have patience in the midst of suffering and, according to Your will, be released from their afflictions. (161)

Adam turned his back on Your word and ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which brought sin and misery to us all. Yet, You did not leave us to die forever but rather sent Jesus who perfectly obeyed Your word and bore our sin on the cross to overcome by a dead tree what Adam did by a living one. Through the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the First Adam brought forth sin and death, but through the tree of the cross, the Final Adam has brought forth forgiveness, life, and salvation, which He now delivers to us in the Lord’s Supper. Feed us with the life-giving fruit of Jesus’ body and blood that we would be enabled to hear and do Your Word as You lead us back from exile to paradise!

As we meditate on the Lord’s Supper during Lent, deepen our understanding and appreciation for all the blessings, benefits, and treasures You bestow on us through this salutary gift, that we would hunger and thirst for Jesus’ body and blood all life long; through Christ Jesus, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.



LSB 194







It is truly meet, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who overcame the assaults of the devil and gave His life as a ransom for many that with cleansed hearts we might be prepared joyfully to celebrate the paschal feast in sincerity and truth. Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying:


LSB 195



LSB 196

Lord's Prayer



LSB 197

The Words of Our Lord


LSB 197

Pax Domini



LSB 198

Agnus Dei




There will be no hymns or instrumental music during the distribution this evening. You are encourged to silently meditate on the Word proclaimed this night and the great gift of our Lord's Body and Blood that we receive for our forgiveness.




LSB 199

Nunc Dimittis



P As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup:

C Ye do show the Lord's death til He come.


Almighty God, heavenly Father, we give thanks that You have refreshed us with the body and blood of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ. Grant that this heavenly food which we have received will strengthen our faith that we may bear all crosses, sickness, and trials with patience and trust until You grant us deliverance, peace, and health; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Salutation and Benedicamus






LSB 202




LSB 418

O Lord, throughout These Forty Days



Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Created by Lutheran Service Builder © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.