Wednesday February 17, Ash Wednesday
Isaiah 58:5–7 Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Strength of a Man is a painting by The Art of DionJa'Y
In Black Theology & Black Power, James Cone wrote: “The white church has not merely failed to render services to the poor but has failed miserably in being a visible manifestation to the world of God’s intention for humanity and in proclaiming the gospel to the world. It seems that the white church is not God’s redemptive agent but, rather, an agent of the old society. It fails to create an atmosphere of radical obedience to Christ. Most church fellowships are more concerned about drinking or new buildings or Sunday closing than about children who die of rat bites or men who are killed because they want to be treated like men. The society is falling apart for want of moral leadership and moral example, but the white church passes innocuously pious resolutions and waits to be congratulated.”
Action step: today, with brutal honesty as Lent 2021 commences and we are living with huge loss from the pandemic, racial strife and inequity, economic crisis, and social upheaval ask where your congregation is headed. The pressures on our denomination, Conference, and local churches are real and can feel oppressive. What is God calling us to for Lent 2021? Is there room in your life, considering all these pressures, to commit to antiracism? If not now, then when? “Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord?”
Prayer: Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect for Ash Wednesday, Book of Common Prayer)