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A Call To Return | Ash Wednesday | February 17, 2021

A Call To Return | Ash Wednesday | February 17, 2021

Worship Service for Ash Wednesday

***THE IN-PERSON SERVICE FOR TODAY IS CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER. WATCH OUR BROADCAST ONLINE INSTEAD.***

Rev. Gregory Mech | February 17, 2021 | Ash Wednesday | Midweek Lenten Worship Service | Immanuel Lutheran Church ONLINE-ONLY TODAY – Joplin, Missouri

Still Wearing Face Masks, Some Classes and On-Campus Activities Have Returned | In-Person Services and Holy Communion are back! Limited Seating. Learn more.

Lent 2021 begins this week, February 17, with Ash Wednesday. Join us for our 7:00 Wednesday Midweek Services leading up to Holy Week and Easter. Return To The Lord!

We stream all of our worship services. We hope you will join our online community if you are unable to attend in person. Welcome! immanueljoplin.com/LIVE

Thank you for supporting Immanuel Lutheran financially. Learn more at immanueljoplin.com/GIVE.

Martin Luther School is Joplin’s Lutheran School, serving children from age 2 through 8th grade. Learn more and receive a FREE Educational Success Consultation! Call 417-624-1403.


Special thanks to all who helped to make this broadcast possible today:
Rev. Gregory Mech and DCE Jason Glaskey.


lenten wednesdays. 7:00 worship online or in person. return to the lord. Immanuel Lutheran Church LCMS. Joplin Missouri.
Join us each Wednesday of Lent 2021 — Return To The Lord

A CALL TO RETURN
Through the words of the prophet Joel, God called to His people and commanded that they turn from their sinful ways and return to Him for His grace and blessings. The images the prophet uses are vivid and disturbing. The situation of God’s people is desperate and needs immediate attention. This is a time for listening and responding to the call to return to faithfulness to the God who has ever been faithful to His people. “Return to the Lord, your God” is more than a verse sung as part of the liturgy. It is a heartfelt directive for our lives as together we follow the pathway of Lent.

ASH WEDNESDAY ADDRESS

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

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

From seeking after other gods,
From misusing Your name,
From forgetting to call upon You in every trouble and from faltering in prayer,
we return to You, O Lord.

From faltering in worship and not always hearing and learning Your Word gladly,
we return to You, O Lord.

From disrespecting the authorities You have placed in our lives,
we return to You, O Lord.

From disregard for our neighbor’s well-being,
From failing to nurture the most important relationships in our lives,
From our lack of complete honesty toward one another and our failure to help our neighbors improve their possession and income, 
we return to You, O Lord.

From speaking hurtful words about others and failing to explain our neighbors’ actions in the kindest way,
From covetous thoughts and actions,
we return to You, O Lord.

To Your gracious Word of love for us in Christ,
we return.

To our identity as children of God, baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
we return.

To Christ’s body and blood, given and shed for us for the forgiveness of our sins,
we return.

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

Steadfast Lord, You remain a solid foundational rock, even when we are shaky and weak. We thank and praise You for Your gracious invitation to return to You, not only during this Lenten season, but day by day. We are prone to wander. Yet Your love for us never wavers, and You constantly call us to return to You. Bless our Lenten journey. Let it be for us a time of daily returning to You, that we may be Your own and live under You in Your kingdom and serve You in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen.

INVOCATION

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
But if we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Silence for reflection on God’s Word and for self-examination.

Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and one another. Holy and gracious God,
we confess our sin to You.

We cannot overcome our own sinful nature. Our desiring, our thinking, our acting, and our speaking—all the blessings that You provide through Your good creation—we have warped and turned into instruments of sin.
Lord, have mercy on us.

We have not loved You with our whole heart, soul, body, mind, and strength. We have neglected the needs of our neighbors—both those closest to us and strangers alike.
Lord, have mercy on us.

For the times when our faith has wavered, for moments of arrogance, for petty jealousies, and for the small and big ways we have sought revenge.
Lord, have mercy on us.

For placing our own personal needs over the needs of our community and over the needs of other people in our lives.
Lord, have mercy on us.

For the times that our hearts have turned away from worshiping You. 
Lord, have mercy on us.

For the times when we have not prayed as regularly and trustingly as we should.
Lord, have mercy on us.

For the times when we have shrunk away from opportunities to give witness to Your grace to us in Christ Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on us.

For the times when we have displayed bad attitudes toward those who struggle in life, imagining that we deserve better than they do.
Lord, have mercy on us.

For seeking comfort for ourselves and not being as concerned about those who suffer injustice.
Lord, have mercy on us.

For explaining our neighbors’ actions in unkind ways. For using our words as weapons against others. For standing in judgment over those who most need to hear a word of grace. 
Lord, have mercy on us.

For the times when we have been careless toward this beautiful world that You created for us to live in.
Lord, have mercy on us.

For all of the other sins, those of which we are aware and those to which we remain blind, we plead with You to forgive us and to fill us with the power of the Spirit to amend our lives. 
Lord, have mercy on us.

Because of Jesus’ paying the price for our sins on the cross, God readily forgives all who return to Him in repentance and faith. “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:11–14).
Amen.

SALUTATION AND COLLECT OF THE DAY

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Let us pray.
Merciful God, You call us to turn from sin, turn to You, and live. Help us to recognize our sin for what it is, confess it to You, and then receive the forgiveness of our sins accomplished by our Lord Jesus on the cross; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen.

OLD TESTAMENT READING Joel 2:12-19

The Old Testament Reading for Ash Wednesday is from Joel, the second chapter.

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to Me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and 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.
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?
Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast;
call a solemn assembly; gather 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.
Between 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?’”
Then the Lord became jealous for His land
and had pity on His people.
The 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.”

This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

EPISTLE 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

The Epistle is from Second Corinthians, the fifth and sixth chapters.

We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with Him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says,

“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; rough honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

VERSE FOR LENT

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

HOLY GOSPEL Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew, the sixth chapter.
Glory to You, O Lord.

[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.

“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. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“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. But 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.” . . .

“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. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that 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.

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

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to You, O Christ.

SERMON

LORD’S PRAYER

Lord, remember us in Your kingdom and teach us to pray:

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.

BENEDICTION

Acknowledgments
Ash Wednesday and Divine Service, Setting One from Lutheran Service Book. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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