The CLBSJ Office Reflects: Ash Wednesday

Matthew Johnstone

Isn’t this the fast I choose:

releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke,

setting free the mistreated,

and breaking every yoke?

Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry

and bringing the homeless poor into your house,

covering the naked when you see them,

and not hiding from your own family?

Then your light will break out like the dawn,

and you will be healed quickly.

Your own righteousness will walk before you,

and the LORD ’s glory will be your rear guard.

Isaiah 58:6-8, Common English Bible

Christians around the world today mark the beginning of the season of Lent, a season of fasting and preparation in the life of the Church. The text above is one of the Ash Wednesday Lectionary texts, and reminds us of one of God’s critical calls in this time of new readiness. The call of a fast in Israel - the call of our fast today - can go beyond giving up chocolate or alcohol, beyond giving up Facebook or television.

We can choose, in listening to God’s Scriptures, to take a fast of action. We can give up injustice, we can give up lethargy, we can give up fear, and take up the ministry of obedience. We can give up wicked restraints, mistreatment, and oppression, and take up justice and righteousness, side by side.

Many will ask you, in this season, what you are giving up for Lent. Here at the CLBSJ we ask - what are you taking on? Where will you set free the mistreated? Where will you share your bread? Where will you cover the naked? Where will you bring the homeless poor home?

Let us know, in comments or on Facebook, what you plan to take on this Lent.