Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

   “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.”   
Isaiah 58:9

While I have both feet firmly planted in my non-traditional Bible-based practice of Christianity, occasionally I look back over my shoulder at my long-standing Catholic roots. Like today—Ash Wednesday. I sometimes miss the rhythm of the liturgical calendar, days like Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the period of preparation for Easter.
Last week in community group, our group leader talked about the value of fasting as a method of prayer and staying focused on God’s sovereign grace. And in my head I was already thinking about Lent and what I had traditionally done as a Catholic. In the Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is a day of fast. My community group leader’s suggestion gave me the perfect opportunity to try fasting within the context of my current church while honoring the tradition I grew up with. So today I’m fasting. I’m nearing the 24-hour without food mark. Yes, I’m getting hungry and my stomach is growling but I’m keeping focused on the reason for the fast. It’s all good.

This morning my eye caught a Bible verse I have on my bulletin board—Isaiah 58:9. And wondering about the context for that verse, I read all of Isaiah 58. A strange coincidence—part of the chapter is about fasting and how we should approach it.

I went to a noon Mass at my local Catholic church because I wanted to stay focused on God today and I wanted to go to a liturgical Ash Wednesday service. And yet another amazing coincidence—in his sermon the priest quoted Isaiah 58—the exact verses I had been meditating on this morning. I guess God wants me to pay attention to Isaiah 58. I hear you, Lord, loud and clear. Isn’t it amazing when He works that way?

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