Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A friend asked me yesterday what I was giving up for Lent, and I was stumped. Ash Wednesday catches me like this every year. I'm feeling pretty good about myself, not weighed down by any sin in particular, then we go to church and the Litany of Penitence reminds me exactly where I fall short. It's a great common denominator. Everybody leaves church with a smudge of ashes on their foreheads and much less smugness about our own goodness. "From dust you were formed, and to dust you shall return."

For further information on Ash Wednesday, I commend Father Tom's blog. The thoughts are borrowed from others, but are profound.

Our Old Testament reading for today is from Isaiah 58: 6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? (Not to hide yourself from your own kin? I don't remember seeing that before.)

Lord, help us all to fast in this way during this season of Lent and from now on. Amen.

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