Ash Wednesday 2017 Ashes, Hymns, Homily, Film, Forehead, Ash Wednesday and LentA selection of hymns and songs based on themes from the Roman Catholic lectionary for Ash Wednesday, in years A, B and C. Most are free-to-use (ie public domain or copyright-free) meaning the words can be copied and sung to at least one tune with no concerns about copyright or performance licensing - sometimes in a limited setting.
Check also: Ash Wednesday Mass, Times, Schedule, Sunday Catholic Mass - Catholic Ash Wednesday Mass 2017
Many such hymns are old/traditional - but where possible a variety of styles / genres are included.
Ash Wednesday READINGS
- First: Joel - Turn to the Lord your God again ... God is tenderness and compassion ... Order a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly
- Psalm 50 - Have mercy on us Lord, for we have sinned / My offences truly I know them / a pure heart create for me O God / Give me again the joy of your help.
- Second: II Paul - Be reconciled to God ... this is the acceptable time, this is the day of salvation.
- Gospel: Matthew - When you give alms, when you pray, when you fast - do it in private.
Ash Wednesday THEMESAcknowledge and return to God, Repentance, God's mercy and compassion,
Ash Wednesday 2017 Ashes, Hymns, Homily, Film, Forehead
This Friday begins the summer season of Lent—the time of the church year once we prepare for Easter. I thought it may be helpful for me to share the tracks I picked for our morning Ash Wednesday company.
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I deliberately chose songs that put the focus not on me and what I’m performing and the way I’m discipling myself (which can be too the tragic emphasis of Lent) but about the finished work of Jesus on the mix and his capacity to rescue and save from sin (which could result in a Christ-centered focus during Lent).
Ash Wednesday — Hymn Suggestions
- BOW - The United Methodist Book of Worship
- CLUW - Come, Let Us Worship (Korean)
- MVPC - Mil Voces Para Celebrar (Spanish)
- SOZ - Songs of Zion
- TFWS - The Faith We Sing
- UMH - The United Methodist Hymnal
- URW - Upper Room Worshipbook
- WSM - Worship & Song, Music Edition
- WSW - Worship & Song, Worship Resources Edition
- SoG - Songs of Grace
Opening:“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
Almost, for a mid-week service, when a lot of people are coming straight from long days at home or on the job, I want to start-off the service with anything they can instantly sing and relate to. Some churches begin their Ash Wednesday with obscure dirge-like hymns, and I believe it’s a big turn off to people. Theologically, this song talks about my need for God’s aid (“tune my heart to sing thy grace”), God’s pursuit of me in Christ (“Jesus sought me, whenever a stranger …”), Jesus’ death (“… interposed his precious blood), and the way he sanctifies me (“let Thy goodness, just like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee”). We recorded this hymn, with Bob Kauflin’s used words, on my church’s recent CD.
- You can't miss to read: Ash Wednesday Bible verses, Study, Origin, Meaning, History
Songs of praise:“You Alone Can Rescue”
“Who, O Lord, can save themselves, their own soul can treat?” The answer is no one! No one can save themselves. So don’t try to save yourself during Lent. This Matt Redman/Jonas Myrin song helpfully points individuals to Jesus as the rescuer.
“Here Is Love (Grace Takes My Sin)”
Kate Simmonds’ good version with this hymn with all the chorus: “Grace requires my failure, calls me buddy, gives my debt entirely …” I placed a totally free download of the track (from my church’s CD) a few weeks ago.
After these tracks, we have scripture readings, a sermon, a conclusion of Lent then a chance to come forward for that imposition of ashes being a note of our mortality.
Songs during the imposition of ashes:
“Come You Sinners”
The music I wrote and posted about here.
“Before the Throne of God Above”
This song constantly points upward. A great track to perform anytime, any company, for almost any purpose, but especially when people might be tempted to look elsewhere.
“Be Unto Your Name”
“We are a minute, You are permanently, Lord of the ages, God before time. We are a vapor, You're eternal, Love everlasting, reigning on high …”
Then we have an occasion of prayer, admission and absolution (a top cathedral word for assurance of excuse), passage of the peace, an offertory music by our choir and then communion.
Communion“Rock of Ages Cleft for Me”
A superb reminder that the “cure” for or crime isn’t within our trying harder, in the “… blood, from Thy red area that flowed,” and “nothing within my fingers I deliver, in order to Thy cross I cling.”
“All to Us”
I enjoy the chorus of this track: “Let the beauty of Your name be the appreciation of the church. Let the righteousness of God become a holy flame that burns. Allow saving love of Christ be the measure of our lives. We consider You’re all to us.” We’re singing this on Ash Wednesday because, again, it comes our eyes upward to God’s honor, his righteousness, and his protecting love—not on our fasting from candy or Television for 40 days.
Closing“Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah”
It is a good old hymn for functions such as this. It’s a confession of our weakness of need, but the concentrate on God’s sufficiency to save, feed, guide and support us.
If you’re choosing tracks/top worship for Ash Wednesday, or for a church that sees Lent, do all as possible to maintain people’s eyes on God’s good grace, Jesus’ finished work along with the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence.