The Perry Ministerial Association (PMA) celebrated a community Ash Wednesday service at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church Wednesday at noon to mark the start of the Lenten season of prayer, fasting and alms giving.
The PMA will host Lenten services each Tuesday beginning at 12:05 p.m., with a luncheon to follow. The service schedule is as follows:
- Tuesday, March 3 – St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.
- Tuesday, March 10 – First Presbyterian Church
- Tuesday, March 17 – Mount Olivet Lutheran Church
- Tuesday, March 24 – First Christian Church
- Tuesday, March 31 – First United Methodist Church
- Friday, April 10 – St. Patrick’s Good Friday Service (no luncheon)
The first Ash Wednesday reading was from Joel 2:12-18:
Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent and leave behind him a blessing, Offerings and libations for the Lord, your God.
Blow the trumpet in Zion! proclaim a fast, call an assembly;
Gather the people, notify the congregation; Assemble the elders, gather the children and the infants at the breast; Let the bridegroom quit his room and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep, And say, “Spare, O Lord, your people, and make not your heritage a reproach, with the nations ruling over them! Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
Then the Lord was stirred to concern for his land and took pity on his people.
The second reading was 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2:
Brothers and sisters: We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says: In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
The gospel reading was Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
“When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
“But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
“But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
“But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”
An offering will be received as part of each worship service. The offering helps the work of the PMA’s Good Samaritan Fund, which aids individuals and families in the community in crisis situations.