For Midweek Lenten Services this year we are focusing on a series of words associated with the preparation of ashes for Ash Wednesday:palm

Gather, Burn, Crush, Sift, Mix, Pour, Bless

This is from the first week, Gather.

I gather the palms for burning.
Gather together all the palm fronds to form a bundle.
Gather them to burn them for the ash crosses.
I gather the palms from last year’s Passion Sunday,
What honored the king of kings now forms his cross.

Joel shouts to blow the trumpet! Gather the people!
Gather the elders, gather the children!
Joel calls: Return to God with all your heart!
For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger
And abounding in steadfast love.

Gather us in, the lost and forsaken.
Gather us in, the blind and the lame.
Call to us now, and we shall awaken.
We shall arise at the sound of our name.

Isaiah says that God, who gathers Israel,
Will gather others besides Israel.
Their burnt offerings and prayers will be accepted by God.
Our God is a God who gathers the outcast
In the house of prayer for all people.

Luther said that the Holy Spirit
Calls us, gathers us, enlightens us,
And makes the whole church.
Holy, with Christ.
This is most certainly true.

Gather us in, the rich and the haughty.
Gather us in, the proud and the strong.
Give us a heart, so meek and so lowly.
Give us the courage to enter your song.

They gathered around Jesus on the shore,
Filled houses, fields, mountain tops, plains.
To hear him teach, to be healed, to be near him.
He fed them with words, with bread and fish,
With love, and with his body and blood.

He set his face toward the city of David
But he grieved for Jerusalem.
As a hen gathers her little ones, he said,
Under her wings; that is how I would gather you.
But you will not let me.

Give us to drink the wine of compassion.
Give us to eat the bread that is you.
Nourish us well and teach us to fashion
Lives that are holy and hearts that are true.

They gathered on the road, waving high
The palms to honor his arrival.
Prepare the royal highway, the king of kings is coming!
On a humble donkey treading a broken road
Coming to lead us home.

They gathered at a table to share a final meal
Jesus gathered towel, bowl, and water
To wash the feet of his gathered friends
While all the forces of darkness
Gathered strength for their final battle.

Gather us in, and hold us forever.
Gather us in and make us your own.
Gather us in, all peoples together.
Fire of love in our flesh and our bone.

Hymn text from Here In This Place: Gather Us In

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