Monday, February 27, 2006

March 1, 2006 - Year B - Ash Wednesday

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51:1-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b - 6:10
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

The vision we have of where meaning is to be found will directly affect our interaction with other folks. Lent is as much about clarifying where meaning lies, as anything. Behind all the rules and deprivations of popular spirituality is a question about what is most deeply significant. The way we begin a Lenten season is important to the way in which we will probably end it (never discounting a sign or miracle coming our way that we recognize).


  1. Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12

    Fasting clarifies relationships from both sides. In the covenant between G*D and creation it shows grace and mercy that steadfastly persists and releases. It also reveals decisions for justice and freedom for others based on solidarity with the oppressed, hungry, and homeless.

    As we put our usual support structures at risk, no matter whether for a long or short time, we find ourselves at a "thin place". You may want to browse the article "Where Can I Touch the Edge of Heaven" to get a feel for this out of another spiritual tradition.

  2. Psalm 51:1-17

    When we pay attention, our weaknesses do glare and our strengths do shine. These are in relationship to our whole life, not just some deistic god. If we are to love G*D and neighbor as self, we can't get away from our failures reflecting on G*D and neighbor and self.

    It is as this point that the issue of enemies can helpfully come in. Here we most clearly see our love and our failure. Here we can begin to fruitfully fast (identify the arena for the fast and see the outcomes of it in our own behavior) from bloodshed and all that it stands for.

    Whether or not this is some imputed guilt from before conception is rather beside the point. It is sufficient to know that wrong has been done and needs to be set right. As we fast we do so to one over-riding end that holds within it many blessings - restoration of joy and a willing spirit. It is more helpful to fast from guilt and toward willing joy.

  3. Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

    Practicing piety to be seen practicing piety is a thick spot, not a thin place. It separates paradise and earth by more than the standard three feet. When it goes on long enough, such a callus is built up that we become callous to G*D (the irony, oh, the irony), to neighbor and self (really high quality blowbacks).

    Yes, a bit more cryptic than usual, but I enjoyed it.


Thank you for blessing us with your response.