Midweek Message

LABC Update – Ash Wednesday 2023

Jim Hopkins

February 21, 2023

Ash Wednesday Greetings,

If you are able to attend one of the Ash Wednesday Vigils today (7-8am, 12-1pm, 5-6:30pm) you will receive a paper copy of this prayer. I wrote it while watching the Sacramento River flow this weekend.

I find it important to teach that we repent not because we are living, breathing pieces of garbage but because we are created in the image of God and to be human is to have that image get a little chipped, marred and tarnished; to have that image need a little polishing from time to time.

Pastor Jim


Ash Wednesday 2023 Prayer

I then turned my face to my Lord God, asking for an answer with prayer and pleading, and with fasting, mourning clothes and ashes Daniel 9:3 (CEB)

Creator of All,

As rivers – the Nile in the highlands of Ethiopia, the Amazon in the steep slopes of Peru, the Colorado high in the Rockies, the Sacramento in the melting snows of Mt. Shasta – have a source, we too have a source, our lives begin, as they end, in you.

As rivers begin their journeys, they are pristine, pure, unblemished and unpolluted. Over the miles they pick up all kinds of stuff – rocks, sediment, branches, pollutants, ash from forest fires. Yet, rivers still they are.

Like rivers we begin our journeys fresh, pure, untainted. Over the days and over the years we pick up all kinds of stuff – prejudices, fears, hates, wounds. Yet, humans still we are.

On this Ash Wednesday, we pause to consider all the stuff we have picked up over the course of our lives. Some of it is helpful. Some of it is not. Some of it is holy. Some of it is not.

We confess that we would like some of the stuff to be washed away, we wish we could just let it flow to the sea.  Yet, we profess that, smudged though we are, we are human still. Imperfect though we are, we are created in your image. As rivers are created to flow to the ocean, we are created to do your will. No amount of sediment, detritus or pollution can destroy this truth.

Ash stained though we are, we are human.  We have a source. It is you. We have a guide. It is you. We have a goal. It is you.


All things are from God and through God and for God. May the glory be to God forever. Amen

Romans 11;36 (CEB)


Pastor Jim will lead Bible Study this morning at 10:30 on Zoom. 

LABC Zoom Link

Online: https://zoom.us/j/8599095914
Dial-in: 1 669 900 9128

Meeting ID: 859 909 5914
Password: 192833

One tap mobile: +16699009128


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