cross with dust and swirls of light

Ash Wednesday 2021
Worship Resources

Thank you for joining us on this Ash Wednesday as we celebrate the beginning of the Lenten season
Here you can find resources for our Sunday liturgy to pray at home or wherever you are


Lent is a time of self-examination and self-discipline accompanied by individual and communal acts of devotion.
Penitence forms a part of Lenten discipline in a context where we recall the events of our redemption and seek spiritual growth so that our baptism may be fully realised in our lives.
The Church therefore marks the beginning of Lent with a liturgy that brings into focus the themes and intentions of the season.
Ash was a symbol of grief and mourning in many ancient cultures and had become a sign of repentance before the dawn of Christianity.
The cross marked on the forehead was likewise an ancient symbol of salvation (known as such in the Psalms of Solomon and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and originating in the exegesis of Ezekiel 9). The sign of the cross acquired its full significance when the cross became the instrument of our Lord’s death.

adapted from the SEC notes accompanying the Ash Wednesday Liturgy

The rite of imposition of ashes traditionally forms part of the Ash Wednesday Service.
As this is not possible this year, this service offers scripture readings, prayers, and reflections for this day – together with the invitation to make the sign of the cross on our foreheads and thus consciously join this season of Lent.


Organ Prelude – CS Lang: Hymn-Tune Prelude on Aus der Tiefe Op.91,8

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

Collect for Purity

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect

O Lord,
grant that your faithful people
may enter this season of penitence with faithfulness,
and complete it with steadfast devotion;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
world without end.

The Liturgy of the Word

You can find the texts of the readings on the pew sheet

Psalm 51.1-18 

(please say the psalm, pausing shortly at the asterisk *)

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; *
in your great compassion blot out my offences.

Wash me through and through from my wickedness *
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions, *
and my sin is ever before me.

Against you only have I sinned *
and done what is evil in your sight.

And so you are justified when you speak *
and upright in your judgement.

Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, *
a sinner from my mother’s womb.

For behold, you look for truth deep within me, *
and will make me understand wisdom secretly.

Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; *
wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.

Make me hear of joy and gladness, *
that the body you have broken may rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins *
and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, *
and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence *
and take not your holy Spirit from me.

Give me the joy of your saving help again *
and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.

I shall teach your ways to the wicked, *
and sinners shall return to you.

Deliver me from death, O God, *
and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness, O God of my salvation.

Open my lips, O Lord, *
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Had you desired it, I would have offered sacrifice, *
but you take no delight in burnt-offerings.

The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit; *
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God.

The Address for Lent

Dear friends in Christ, as we begin the season of Lent we are reminded that, in our Christian lives, we seek to realise the death of Jesus so that God may be glorified in our worship and through our witness in the world.

Saint Paul writes of ‘carrying around the death of Jesus in our bodies, so that the life of Jesus may be clearly shown in our bodies’ (2 Cor 4. 10).

It is through baptism that we die into Christ’s death (Rom 6. 3–4) so that we may share in his resurrection. In beginning our Lenten observance, we are therefore reminded of our baptism, and how Christ’s death on the cross may clearly be shown in our lives.

We now come before God in penitence, reflecting on our life in Christ. We pledge ourselves to observe this season of self-examination, discipline, and self-denial with sincerity, prayer, and reverent reflection on holy Scripture, seeking God’s purpose for us, and modelling our lives on the example of Christ Jesus.

The Litany and Imposition of Ashes

God the Father,
have mercy on us.
God the Son,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.

Holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity,
have mercy on us.

From all evil and mischief:
from pride, vanity, and hypocrisy:
from envy, hatred, and malice:
and from all evil intent.
good Lord, deliver us.

From sloth, worldliness, and love of money:
from hardness of heart
and contempt for your word and your laws,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sins of body and mind:
from the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil;
from error and false doctrine,
good Lord, deliver us.

In all times of sorrow, in all times of joy:
in the hour of death, and at the day of judgement,
good Lord, deliver us.

Govern and direct your holy Church: fill it with love and truth:
and grant it that unity which is your will.
Hear us, good Lord.

Give us boldness to preach the gospel in all the world, and to make disciples of all the nations.
Hear us, good Lord.

Enlighten your ministers with knowledge and understanding, that by their teaching and their lives they may proclaim your word.
Hear us, good Lord.

Give your people grace to hear and receive your word, and to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit.
Hear us, good Lord.

Bring into the way of truth all who have erred and are deceived.
Hear us, good Lord.

Strengthen those who stand: comfort and help the faint-hearted: raise up the fallen;
and finally beat down Satan under our feet.
Hear us, good Lord.

Give us true repentance: forgive us our sins of negligence and ignorance
and our deliberate sins: and grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to your holy word.

Holy God
Holy Strong
Holy Immortal
Have mercy on us.


Create in us clean hearts, O God:
and renew a right spirit within us.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

Almighty God,
Creator of heaven and earth,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word, and deed.
We have not loved you with all our being,
we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves:
we have disfigured your image in which we are made.
In your mercy, forgive what we have been
and what we have done,
guide us and help us to amend our lives,
and bring us to fullness of life in you,
for the sake of your Son who died for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

A sign of the Cross (in place of Imposition of the Ashes)

Almighty God,
you have compassion on all your children,
and hate nothing you have made;
you do not desire the death of sinners,
but that they turn from their ways and live.
May a sign of the cross be for us,
who are redeemed through the cross of Christ,
a sign of our death to sin,
and the pledge of our life in Christ;
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

I invite you to receive the mark of Christ’s cross,
with which we are signed at Baptism,
and by which we are forgiven our sins
and live to the glory of God.

Please mark your own forehead with the sign of the cross. You may want to use some ashes, earth or dust if at hand. The Rector will use ashes at Holy Trinity in order to encompass the whole community symbolically.


Lord God Almighty,
your people are washed clean in the saving flood of baptism, and born again:
As we follow the way of the cross,
we ask you to unseal for us the wellspring of your grace,
cleanse our hearts of all that is not holy,
and cause your gift of new life to flourish in us;
grant this through Jesus Christ your Son,
who sets us free from sin,
and lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
holy and mighty God, world without end.

The Liturgy of the Sacrament

The Rector will celebrate the Eucharist at Holy Trinity

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Do not bring us to the time of trial
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever.  Amen.

Thanksgiving and Sending Out

A Blessing is pronounced:

Christ give us grace to grow in holiness,
to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him;
and may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.

Thank you for joining us at Holy Trinity Church, Stirling for Ash Wednesday

Organ Postlude – Johannes Pachelbel: Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält


Sunday 21st February
10.30 a.m. Holy Communion
(said in private – online resources will be available)

Genesis 9.8-17
1 Peter 3.18-22
Mark 1.9-15

Lent Book 2021

The Lent Book at Holy Trinity this year will be Falling Upward: a spirituality for the two halves of life by the Franciscan monk and spiritual teacher Richard Rohr.

Do consider joining us in reading the book (which can be bought online from all major bookshops or downloaded as an e-book) – if you’d like to discuss aspects of what you’ve read or what others make of it, do join us for our Lent Group via Zoom:
Thursdays 25th February & 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th March at 7.30 p.m.

Do let the Rector know if you’re interested.

Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: a spirituality for the two halves of life,
(London, SPCK, 2012)

We grow more spiritually by doing it wrong than by doing it right. In Falling Upward, Fr Richard Rohr offers a new understanding of one’s life most profound mysteries: how our failing can be the foundation for our ongoing spiritual growth. Drawing on the wisdom from time-honoured myths, heroic poems, great thinkers and sacred religious texts, the author explores the two halves of life to show that those who have fallen, failed or ‘gone down’ are the only ones who understand ‘up’. The heartbreaks, disappointments and loves of the first half of life are actually stepping stones to the spiritual joys that the second half has in store for us.’