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Ash Wednesday, 2013

February 13, 2013

JMJ

Blessed Ash Wednesday!

Entrance Antiphon:
You are merciful, O Lord, and despise nothing that You have made.
You overlook people’s sins, to bring them to repentance,
and You spare them, for You are the Lord our God.

Collect:
Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting
this campaign of Christian service,
so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils,
we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Readings:
Joel 2: 12-18 (God is merciful when we repent)
Psalm 51:3-17 “Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned”
2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2 (We beg you: be reconciled to God!)
+Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 (Our prayer, fasting and almsgiving are to be done
in a spirit of conversion, not for show)

Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to Me with your whole heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning
-Joel 2:12

It’s time to clean house,
take stock,
regroup–
not as if company’s coming,
to look good,
throwing things into the closet,
under the bed,
out of sight.

Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them
-Matthew 6:1

This is a watershed,
a sea-change.
The direction we’re heading
is not where we want to go.
It’s time to get to the heart,
to dig deep,
to change course
entirely.

Rend your hearts,
not your garments
Joel 2:13

It’s time for hard choices.

What’s outlived its usefulness?
Hopes, attitudes, expectations,
habits, indulgences, “stuff”?
What never lived up to its promises?
What’s getting in the way?
What’s got to go?

What’s been undervalued?
What do we need more of?
What do we need to pursue?

Behold, now is the acceptable time!
Behold, now is the day of salvation!
-2 Corinthians 6:2

And this isn’t just for individuals.
We need this
as families,
as churches,
as a nation.

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.
-Joel 2:16

We’re in this together
with God!

Then the Lord was stirred to concern for His land
and took pity on His people
-Joel 2:18

He will not be outdone
in generosity.

Specifically, what changes will you make this Lent?
How will you involve those in your sphere of influence?

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