Lent begins this week on Ash Wednesday. The lectionary readings for Ash Wednesday include: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 and Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21. An alternate to the Joel passage is Isaiah 58:1-12.

Isaiah 58:6-7Is this not the fast 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? Is it not to share 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?

Fasting is a common observance during Lent, although not one in which I have regularly participated. While we can pay honor to and reflect on God through fasting, this passage reminds us that we also serve God through our service to others each day.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us share ourselves with others in ways which are pleasing to you. Amen.

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