Third Sunday in Lent
March 7, 2021; 11:00 a.m.
Dear People of Ascension,

As the days grow longer and I anticipate the beginning of Daylight Savings Time just a week from now, I remember that the word “Lent” comes from lenz- the old Germanic word for “spring”.

Some people make a connection of Lent with a kind of spiritual spring cleaning-getting rid of excess or unwanted habits even as the pantry is meant to be cleared of butter and bacon on Fat Tuesday. Your practice may include giving something up for Lent, fasting from chocolate, alcohol or social media, offering money to God’s work, making space for a new kind of prayer. I hope those disciplines are proving fruitful if you have chosen them.

However, this year I am thinking of Lent not as spring cleaning, but as spring thaw. When I walk around the city, I see the dirty remnant of the last snow, and in the parks, the wet ground where the snow has melted. It is slushy and then muddy- a mess before the new growth of spring crocuses peak up through the earth.

What, I wonder, in my life or in yours might thaw this Lent? Is it a relationship that has long been hardened with bitterness and resentment? A despairing callousness about relentless injustice, or the peril of the earth herself? A deep weariness born of the year we have just had, with all the demands it has made on us physically, emotionally and spiritually? Maybe it is difficulty trusting that you are really loved by God.

God’s grace is always offered to us, but this season invites particular awareness and openness as we walk with Jesus towards his passion and resurrection. We must do our part, but God’s grace does infinitely more, even thawing what we had believed frozen forever. Sometimes it is scary, surprising, painful and messy- as well as wonderfully joyful.

I hope you are having a blessed, holy and renewing Lent- and a heart-melting spring thaw.

How to Join the Service
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Worship With Us
lent supper

All Gather Online



Your microphone will be muted.

From Thee will I never stray
Dietrich Buxtehude
Opening Sentence and Confession of Sin
Click here for link.
Collect of the Day
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
The Lessons
Reader: Liz Hill

Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Psalm 19  (St. Helena Psalter)

The heavens declare your glory, O God, *
   and the firmament shows your handiwork.
One day tells its tale to another, *
   and one night imparts knowledge to another.
Although they have no words or language, *
   and their voices are not heard,
Their sound has gone out into all lands, *
   and their message to the ends of the world.
In the deep you have set a pavilion for the sun; *
   it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;
   it rejoices like a champion to run its course.
It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens
and runs about to the end of it again; *
   nothing is hidden from its burning heat.
Your law, O God, is perfect and revives the soul; *
   your testimony is sure and gives wisdom to the innocent.
Your statutes are just and rejoice the heart; *
   your commandment is clear and gives light to the eyes.
The fear of you is clean and endures for ever; *
   your judgments are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold, *
   sweeter far than honey, than honey in the comb.
By them also is your servant enlightened, *
   and in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern unwitting sins? *
   Cleanse me from my secret faults.
Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
let them not get dominion over me; *
   then shall I be whole and sound,
   and innocent of a great offense.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight, *
   O God, my strength and my redeemer.

Reader: Robin Clements

The message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
Gradual Hymn
Please join in the singing of the hymn.
#152 Kind Maker of the world, O hear
A la venue de Noël
Kind Maker of the world, O hear
the fervent prayer, with many a tear
poured forth by all the penitent
who keep this holy fast of Lent!

Each heart is manifest to thee;
thou knowest our infirmity;
now we repent, and seek thy face;
grant unto us thy pardoning grace.

Spare us, O Lord, who now confess
our sins and all our wickedness,
and, for the glory of thy Name,
our weakened souls to health reclaim.

Give us the discipline that springs
from abstinence in outward things
with inward fasting, so that we
in heart and soul may dwell with thee.

Grant, O thou blessèd Trinity;
grant, O unchanging Unity;
that this our fast of forty days
may work our profit and thy praise!
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to John.

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
The Rev. Meredith Ward
Lead me, Lord
Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876)
Lead me, Lord, lead me in thy righteousness; make thy way plain before my face.
For it is thou, Lord, thou, Lord only, that makest me dwell in safety.
Prayers of the People
Form II
In the course of the silence after each bidding, the People offer their own prayers, either silently or aloud.

Leader I ask your prayers for God's people throughout the world; for our Presiding Bishop Michael, for our own bishops Andrew, Allen, and Mary; for this gathering; and for all ministers and people. Pray for the Church.

Leader I ask your prayers for peace; for goodwill among nations; for the well-being of all people; for this fragile earth, and for the will, wisdom and courage to care for and live sustainably with all creation. We pray for Joe our president, Andrew our governor, and Bill our mayor. We pray for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, Ethiopia, Yemen, Uganda, Haiti, and the Uygur people; for all laboring to end racism and white supremacy and establish racial justice in our country.

Leader Bless all whose lives are closely linked with ours, and grant that we may serve Christ in them, and love one another as he loves us. We pray for all affected by COVID-19: for the frightened and the sick, for the dying and those who mourn; for all who have lost jobs and livelihood as a result of this pandemic; for all healthcare workers, especially Scarlett, Madonna, Trudie, Nancy, Anna, Sarah, Endine, Terese, and AJ, for all whose labor supports our common life; for those developing and distributing vaccines, for those charged with making decisions about public health and public policy

Leader I ask your prayers for the poor, the sick, the hungry, the oppressed, and those in prison. We remember especially Robert, Ed, Janet, Ellen, Joseph, Brielle, Lucas, Holly, Allejandro and Jesus, Nancy, Barbara, Dorothy, Stewart, Patricia, Judith, Hannah, Jurek, Alice, Michael, Erika, Tom, Attikus, Marcy, Deb, Deacon Luis, Stephen, Martin, Marion, Sandy, Jonathan and family, Cammie and family, Ed, and Liz. Pray for those in any need or trouble.

Leader I ask your prayers for all who seek God, or a deeper knowledge of him. Pray that they may find and be found by her.

Leader I ask your prayers for the departed, especially Elizabeth Allen, Desaix Anderson, Jeff Paley, Jack Chinery and the more than 518,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19, as well as others around the world.

Leader I ask for your other prayers and thanksgivings.

Leader Praise God for those in every generation in whom Christ has been honored. Pray that we may have grace to glorify Christ in our own day.

The Celebrant adds a concluding Collect.
The Lord's Prayer

 Our Father, who art in heaven,
     hallowed be thy Name,
     thy kingdom come,
     thy will be done,
          on earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread.
 And forgive us our trespasses,
     as we forgive those
          who trespass against us.
 And lead us not into temptation,
     but deliver us from evil.
 For thine is the kingdom,
     and the power, and the glory,
     for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer Over the People
Celebrant: Bow down before the Lord.
Look mercifully on this your family, Almighty God, that by your great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Please join in the singing of the hymn.
#690 Guide me, O thou great Jehovah
Cwm Rhondda
Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand;
bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore.

Open now the crystal fountain,
whence the healing stream doth flow;
let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through;
strong deliverer,
be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
death of death, and hell’s destruction,
land me safe on Canaan’s side;
songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee.
Coming Up in Lent
This week's forum: The Reconciliation of a Penitent. About this rite, also called confession, the Episcopal Church says "all may, none must, some should". What happens in the rite of reconciliation? What benefit might one find in making a private confession? And how does this liturgical, devotional and sacramental practice impact the themes and practice of justice we have been exploring this Lent? Please join us for an exploration of the rite, and these questions. Click here to link to the Rite of Reconciliation from the Book of Common Prayer (page 447.)

Sunday Forums in Lent - Justice, Reconciliation and Forgiveness
Sundays from February 21 through March 21, following the 11:00 service.

... At last week's forum, many of us were moved and challenged by the words of Bryan Stevenson about the injustices of the criminal justice system. One way that New Yorkers of faith can make a difference locally is through Faith Communities for a Just Re-entry. This link will tell you more about how you can get involved in this ministry, which focuses specifically on the needs of people released from Riker's Island, calling on the Mayor and other city officials to ensure that they experience a safe transition, have access to housing, and are supported by a coordinated reentry system.
Lenten Community Suppers - Join us at 6:30 p.m. for Lenten Zoom Gatherings for Food, Prayer and Conversation this Lent. There will be 5 gatherings (see below), each hosted by one of the clergy. Participation is limited to 10 participants for each gathering. Out of consideration of others, please only register for one gathering. There are plenty of open spots, so register today!
To Register, go to and click the "Reserve a Spot" botton. If you have any questions, please contact the church office by email at or by phone at 212-254-8620.
Tuesday, March 9
Thursday, March 18
Wednesday, March 24
Lenten Devotional Books Are Here! The devotional is made up of 40 personal reflections from members of the parish and clergy at Ascension. The booklet is available online and in hardcopy (limited supply), with original artwork by Matthew Snow. To download the PDF of the Lenten Devotional, go to and follow the instruction to download or read online. The daily meditations from the booklet will also be available on our Facebook page starting Ash Wednesday. To request a hard copy (suggested donation $5), please email the Parish Office at If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Adams. Thank you to all our writers for their work to make the devotional a reality.
Support Your Parish!
Go to to give online
Please check us out at to find out how easy and secure it is. Click the envelope on the right to go the Ascension Website for more information and to give, whether a one-time donation, pledge payment, or make a new pledge.

Our parish can only continue its mission and ministry because of the generosity of parishioners, visitors, and friends of the parish and we are working hard to make our online giving as easy and seamless as possible.

(If you experience any issues with Abundant Giving, please email us at
Racial Justice Discussion Group, March 11, 6:30 p.m. We will be discussing this episode from (G)race on Spotify. Broderick Greer Canon Precentor at Saint John's Cathedral in Denver, Colorado US in transatlantic conversation with Azariah France-Williams (UK) and Winnie Varghese (US). Talking God and race - on black resistance, black dignity and joy - and 'being the allies'. Plus the ravages of white supremacy and finding freedom. Please keep an ear out for theology, and plan to join us!
Episcopal Relief and Disaster (ERD) Response in Texas. Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting the Episcopal dioceses of Dallas, Texas and West Texas as they provide emergency relief to individuals and families impacted by the unprecedented ice storm, low temperatures and power outages last week. Click here to learn more and help support their relief efforts.
Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 14th! Get ready to spring forward!
From your Vestry:
Sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent By the Rt. Rev. Mary D. Glasspool Bishop Assistant. This video sermon is one of a series by our bishops for the Sundays in Lent.
Sunday Meditation with Prayers & Music
is available on our
Facebook page:

Stay Connected in Prayer.
Join us each weeknight at 5:30 for Evening Prayer & discussion. Click this link to join: To call in (voice, no camera), dial 929-205-6099; the meeting ID is 770 597 201.
For Your Daily Prayers - "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) During this time of global crisis and personal anxiety, we offer you this prayer form to include in your daily prayers.
Sunday Paper Junior - The lectionary, our yearly schedule of Bible readings, carries us through Jesus’s life and teachings. The Church of The Ascension subscribes to the Sunday Paper Junior and we offer it to you and your family as a fun, creative way to study the lessons each week. Click here to access this week's paper. Please feel free to print out the pages each week and use as you desire. Check out this section each week for the current Sunday Paper Junior!
Vaccine Registration Assistance? Do you need help scheduling your vaccine appointment? Are you a tech-savvy and patient person who would like to help register people? Please contact Madonna Stack-Barker at for more information.
Space Use at Ascension - While the church is closed and not in general use, occasionally someone in the church will want to use one of our spaces. (Please note, that such uses are strongly discouraged.) During the pandemic we must be extra careful to coordinate these things so there is no overlap, and to schedule plenty of time for cleaning. If you think you might need the space for something, please coordinate via the church office - contact Br. Andrew at or 212-254-8620.
Open Church, Tuesdays & Fridays, Noon to 3. The church is open for private prayer and meditation. Attendance is limited to a maximum of 20 people at one time and all safety precautions (properly worn masks, physical distancing, hand sanitizing, and contact tracing) will be followed.

In-Person Midweek Eucharists Remain Suspended. In light of the rising infection rates in New York City, we continue to suspend our Wednesday evening in person Eucharists.We will revisit the question early in the new year.
Beware of Fraudulent Emails Purporting to be from the Ascension clergy! Several people received scam emails today pretending to be from Fr. Ed, using a Gmail account under a user name that appears to be him. Click here to read more and learn what you can do.
This Week at Ascension
Sunday – March 7 - Third Sunday in Lent
Church Service (Zoom) 11:00 a.m.
Ascension Forum (following the 11:00 service)
Meditation with Prayers and Music (Available on our Facebook page)

Monday – March 8
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.
Lectionary Bible Study (Zoom) 6:30 p.m.
(Speak to Sibyl Piccone if you are interested in this group)

Tuesday – March 9
Open Church* (Church) 12 Noon - 3:00 p.m.
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.
EfM (Zoom) 6:00 p.m.
Lenten Community Supper (Zoom) 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday – March 10
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.
Finance Committee (Zoom) 4:30 p.m.

Thursday – March 11
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.
Racial Justice Group (Zoom) 6:30 p.m.

Friday – March 12
Open Church* (Church) 12 Noon - 3:00 p.m.
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.

Saturday – March 13
Rehearsal for Sunday Service (Zoom) 2:00 p.m.

Sunday – March 14 - Fourth Sunday in Lent
Daylight Savings Time Begins
Church Service (Zoom) 11:00 a.m.
Ascension Forum (following the 11:00 service)
Meditation with Prayers and Music (Available on our Facebook page)

* Anyone entering the church must wear a mask, maintain appropriate physical distance, utilize the hand sanitizer stations, and provide contact tracing information. Anyone with a temperature of 99.9 or over will not be admitted and will be instructed to quarantine and contact their doctor.

If you need information to connect to one of our Zoom events please call the church office at 212-254-8620 or email us at
Contact us
The Church of the Ascension -- Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street
212-254-8620 | |
We are working from home, but we will respond to emails and phone calls