Ash Wednesday (Year: A)
Date: Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023, 11:00
Old Testament: Isa. 58:1-12
1"Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins.
2For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.
3'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?'"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.
4Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
6"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
11The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
12Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
Isaiah 58:1-12 (NIV)
1Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
2Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
4Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
5Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
7Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
10Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.
14Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
16You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalms 51:1-17 (NIV)
2 Corinthians 5:20-6 (NIV)
1"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
16"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:1-6,16-21 (NIV)