Almighty and everlasting God,
you despise nothing you have made
and forgive the sins of all who are penitent.
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts,
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our brokenness,
may obtain of you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
READING FROM THE BOOK OF JOEL
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy
mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day
of the Lord is coming, it is near - a day of darkness and gloom, a
day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the
mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never
been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.
Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts
and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is
gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast
love, and relents from punishing. Who knows whether he will not
turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering
and a drink offering for the Lord, your God? Blow the trumpet in
Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children,
even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and
the bride her canopy. Between the vestibule and the altar let the
priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep. Let them say,
"Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a
mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among
the peoples, 'Where is their God?'"
JOEL 2:1-2, 12-17
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in
your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and
blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in
my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall
be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit
Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy
spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return
Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my
tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt
offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and
contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
READING FROM THE SECOND LETTER OF PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS
We entreat you on
behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him
to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the
righteousness of God. As we work together with him, we urge you
also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, "At
an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of
salvation I have helped you." See, now is the acceptable
time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle
in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,
but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way:
through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,
beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger;
by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit,
genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the
weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in
honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are
treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are
well known; as dying, and see - we are alive; as punished, and yet
not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet
making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing
2 CORINTHIANS 5:20B-6:10
HOLY GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO MATTHEW
"Beware of practicing 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
OVER THE GIFTS
turn us from sin to faithfulness.
Accept our offering,
and prepare us to celebrate
the death and resurrection of Christ our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you now and for ever.
God of compassion,
through your Son Jesus Christ
you reconciled your people to yourself.
Following his example of prayer and fasting,
may we obey you with willing hearts
and serve one another in holy love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.