For March 5, 2014: Ash Wednesday

The Reading            Isaiah 58:1-12

When it comes to fasting and repentance, Isaiah tells us, ashes and ostentatious humility are not interesting to God. Instead, our fast is to act in this world to feed the hungry, house the homeless, to clothe the naked, to break every yoke, and to stop from pointing fingers and speaking evil.

The Response            Psalm 103:8-14

Ash Wednesday forcefully reminds us of our sin and our need for repentance. Psalm 103:8-14 sings of the Lord’s abundant mercy and grace.

The Epistle            2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

In first-century Corinth, Paul was under attack both for his ministry and for the Gospel he preached. Here, before defending himself and his coworkers, he calls his critics—and us—to be reconciled to God so that we may be God’s ambassadors of reconciliation to a world that is in a world of hurt.

The Gospel            Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Jesus gets specific on the theme that Isaiah announced: real faith is not making sure that everyone notices how holy I seem but rather storing up treasure in heaven.

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