February 22 – Ash Wednesday

Readings:


Joel 2:1,2,12-17

Psalm 51:1-17

II Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Notes:

In a general sense, there is no period that is not the “day of the Lord”. It does not just involve judgment for the disobedient, it also includes deliverance for the righteous. “Darkness” (Joel 2:2) is used as a metaphor for misery, distress and judgment. ‘Tearing one’s garment’ (verse 13) was a customary way of expressing remorse.

II Corinthians 5:21 can be understood to mean that Jesus, by the will of God, bore the consequences of our sins.

Questions:

A

  1. What implied sin is the prophet Joel addressing?
  2. What is God’s purpose in allowing “a day of darkness”?
  3. Why, according to Jesus in Matthew’s gospel, should religious acts be done quietly without fanfare?

B

  1. How might one express remorse for one’s sins?
  2. Which verses particularly speak to you in Psalm 51?
  3. Underlying Paul’s appeal to the Corinthians is the recognition that the true servant of God is the Suffering Servant. What encouragement is there in this appeal?

Food for thought:

Ash Wednesday offers us an opportunity to move further along in our Christian journey, to reflect on our relationship with God and to shed some of the “encumbrance of sin” that clings to us.

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