Bulletin - Ash Wednesday - February 22nd, 2023

Covenant Presbyterian Church

Ash Wednesday

February 22, 2023 – 7pm

  Covenant is an accepting, welcoming community sharing the glory of God’s love with all.


PRELUDE                 “Savior, When in Dust to Thee” arr. McKibben 



Leader:  We gather together at the edge of a new season.

People: We stand together on the cusp of something new.

Leader: Will we wade into self-reflection?

People: Will we invite honesty to dance?

Leader: Will we listen for God’s invitation?

People: Will we seek deeper faith?

Leader: What kind of fast do we choose? What kind of faith will we build?

People: We gather together at the edge of a new season.

Leader: Listen, God is speaking.

*HYMN #684 “Faith Begins by Letting Go” (verses 1-3)

1 Faith begins by letting go,

giving up what had seemed sure,

taking risks and pressing on,

though the way feels less secure:

pilgrimage both right and odd, 

trusting all our life to God.

2 Faith endures by holding on,

keeping memory’s roots alive

so that hope may bear its fruit;

promise-fed, our souls will thrive,

not through merit we possess

but by God’s great faithfulness.

3 Faith matures by reaching out, 

stretching minds, enlarging hearts,

sharing struggles, living prayer,

binding up the broken parts;

till we find the commonplace

ripe with witness to God’s grace. 



Merciful God,

How many times in a day could we choose love?

How many times could we choose justice?

How many times could we speak kindly to ourselves?

How many times could we offer grace?

How many times, God? And how often do we miss it?

Forgive us for choosing the path you did not travel.

Forgive us for hitching our horse to the world’s measure of goodness, instead of yours. Return our hearts to you, and guide us continually, even in the parched places. With gratitude we pray,



HYMN #581 “Glory Be to the Father”

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, amen.


The peace of the Lord, be with you all. And also with you.

ANTHEM     “Let Justice Roll Like a River” by Haugen



We live not by bread alone, but by every word that comes from God. Thanks be to God.

SERMON “Seeking: Is This the Fast That I Choose?”

ANTHEM         “Now Quit Your Care” by Curry

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (Inspired by the words of Isaiah 58)

We believe in a God who chooses freedom,

who unties every rope and carries our burdens.

We believe in a God who ushers in the poor and the hungry, 

who has a seat saved for all of us.

We believe in a God whose love is like the sun,

who says, “I’m here, I’m here!” every time we cry.

We believe in a God who walks before us in the parched places, 

who rescues our bones,

who tends to us like a gardener.

And because we believe,

we strive to choose love.

Because we believe,

we strive to pursue justice.

Because we believe...


HYMN O God of Love, The Fast You Choose”   (verses 1-4)

1 O God of love, the fast you choose Is not some great display.

It's everything we gladly do To serve you day by day.

It's not a moment set apart When we will mourn our sin;

For you require a change of heart — A change from what has been.

2 Lord, we confess we often sing That you are our delight,

Then we go shouting words that sting; We bicker and we fight.

Oppressing others for our gain, We put our interests first.

We overlook our neighbors' pain While praying here in church.

3 You teach us what it means to be A church that worships you:

In setting captive people free, We praise you as you choose.

In sharing bread with hungry folk, Bringing the homeless in,

And breaking every bitter yoke We worship you again.

4 God, bless us as we journey on To live in loving ways.

Then darkness will turn into dawn And gloom will turn to praise.

When justice is our offering, We also will be blest,

And we will know the fast we bring Will be our very best.

*HYMN #433 “Sign Us with Ashes” (verses 1-6)


Sign us with ashes, merciful God,

children of dust, as to dust we return.

Sign us with ashes, merciful God.

Mark us and make us your own.

1 Surely, you alone can save us.

You pay our price with precious blood.

Reaching through your great compassion,

you lift up your people with love. (Refrain)

2 Surely, you alone uphold us.

You give us strength for all our needs.

Shielding with a father’s favor,

you bless us with pardon and peace. (Refrain)

3 Surely, you alone can heal us.

Yours is the will to make us whole.

Soothing with a mother’s kindness,

the contrite of heart, you console. (Refrain)

4 Surely, you alone can free us.

You break the bonds of guilt and sin.

Bracing, till we walk uprightly,

you bolster our hope once again. (Refrain)

5 Surely, you alone refine us.

You give us grace for lives made new,

forging, through your fire and radiance,

a sacrifice worthy for you. (Refrain)

6 Surely, you alone redeem us.

You fill our dust with holy breath.

Bursting from the grave in glory,

you rise from the ashes of death! (Refrain)



POSTLUDE Reprise of “Sign Us with Ashes”

Unless otherwise noted, prayers in this service are reprinted by permission of Westminster John Knox Press from Feasting on the Word® Worship Companion. Copyright 2012.

Assisting in Worship Today:

Liturgist-Erin Wise

Jim Eder–Vocalist

Cherie Brooks – Director of Music & Technology 

Katie Wynkoop–Organist/Pianist & Assistant Director of Music 

Erin Wise – Director of Children’s & Youth Ministries

Brian Biller – Media Production Specialist

Rev. Joel A. Esala–Pastor

Don't Look Up

by T. Denise Anderson 

Inspired by Isaiah 58:1-12 

Oil on canvas