|Tomorrow, 17th February, is Ash Wednesday and I have been thinking how this might be meaningful day for all of us. You may choose to follow the service either on Facebook or via our webpage|
You may also to come and receive the sign of the cross and the Holy Communion (bread only) at the courtyard of Mikael Agricola Church at 18.30. Please register in advance by using this form.
If you choose to follow the service online, at the appropriate time during the service, you may make a sign of a cross to your own forehead – or agree that you do the sign to other family members. If you have ash, you may mix some with olive oil. Please do not mix with water! If you do not have ash, you may use just oil. And if you do not have oil either, simply use your finger to make the sign of the cross,
You may say the following prayer while preparing oil and ash:
God our Father,
you create us from the dust of the earth:
grant that these ashes (or oil) may be for us
a sign of our penitence
and a symbol of our mortality;
for it is by your grace alone
that we receive eternal life
in Jesus Christ our Saviour.
And then, while making the sing of the cross:
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ.
or, if making the sign of a cross on your own forehead:
Turn me from sin to faithfulness and from disobedience to love.
Accomplish in me the work of your salvation.
If you are unable to follow the online service, you may begin by reading the following passage from the Gospel according to Matthew:
Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Beware of practising your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
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. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
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. 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.
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. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 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. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ Matthew 6.1-6,16-21
With my best wishes and prayers as we prepare for the season of Lent. And again: Please do contact me if you would like to speak to a priest or if you have any questions.