Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Easter 5, Year C May 19, 2019 Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C John 13:31-35
Easter 4, Year C May 12, 2019 Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C Psalm 23; John 10:22-30
Easter 3, Year C May 5, 2019 Third Sunday of Easter, Year C John 21:1-19
Easter 2, Year C April 28, 2019 Easter 2, Year 2 John 20:19-31
Easter Sunday, 2019 April 21, 2019 Easter Sunday John 20:1-18
Good Friday, 2019 April 19, 2019 Good Friday John 18:1-19:42
Maundy Thursday, April 18, 2019 April 18, 2019 Maundy Thursday John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Palm Sunday, Year C April 14, 2019 Palm Sunday, Year C Luke 23:26
Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C April 7, 2019 Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C John 12:1-8
Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C March 31, 2019 Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year C 2019 Joshua 5:9-12;Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
Third Sunday in Lent, Year C March 24, 2019 Third Sunday in Lent, Year C Luke 13:1-9
Second Sunday in Lent, Year C March 17, 2019 Second Sunday in Lent, Year C Luke 13:31-35,Philippians 3:17-4:1
First Sunday in Lent, Year C March 10, 2019 First Sunday in Lent, Year C Luke 4:1-13
Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019 March 6, 2019 Ash Wednesday Isaiah 58:1-12
Last Epiphany, March 3, 2019 – Rev. Mark Jefferson March 3, 2019 Last Epiphany, Year C Luke 9:28-36, [37-43a]


Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Sermon Date:March 6, 2019

Scripture: Isaiah 58:1-12

Liturgy Calendar: Ash Wednesday

One of the disciplines that The Book of Common Prayer recommends as a way of preparing for Holy Week and Easter during the season of Lent is the discipline of fasting. 

Jesus himself fasted in the wilderness for forty days, putting himself in solidarity with us by experiencing the temptations that we face on a regular basis.   

Fasting from food puts us in solidarity with people around the world who fast not out of choice, but because they have no other option.  My Spanish teacher in Guatemala told me that in some villages, the women have a baby every year, and that by the time the child is three, it dies from malnutrition. 

Fasting helps us remember those who go hungry every day, the least of these, the ones that Jesus cares for so passionately.

Fasting as a discipline is becoming increasingly important in our fractured world–

because fasting, not only from food, but from the things that divide us, can bring healing not only to ourselves but to humanity in general. 

This year, join me in fasting from something that divides you from others. 

If the news makes you angry and frustrated with your brothers and sisters, a Lenten fast from the news may be just for you!   

If you find yourself feeling resentful toward a friend or family member, or neighbor, fast from resentment, swallow your pride and make the effort to bring healing rather than giving in to your resentment.   Lenten fasting can help us remember that even when we don’t agree, we’re still all God’s children. 

We could all fast from feeling prejudice against or distrust toward others different than we are by taking on the discipline of being intentional about learning more about their lives and their cultures.

Not only do we face divisions with one another, but we find that we have, without realizing it in many cases, divided ourselves from the earth itself—and we must depend on the earth for our very lives. 

So fast from something that divides us from the earth by giving up something that harms it.

The season of Lent is a great time to remember to take reusable shopping bags to the grocery store so that we don’t have to take yet another plastic bag home. 

We could take carryout containers with us next time we go out to eat so that we don’t end up using a Styrofoam container for left overs that will never degrade if it’s buried in a landfill. 

We could do something as small as to give up using plastic straws, since most of the 500 million straws that Americans use a day end up in the oceans, to entangle sea mammals and to be eaten by fish, with deadly results. 

Or for a more intense fast, try a carbon fast.  The internet has many suggestions about how to carry out a carbon fast. 

When we get divided from one another, and at odds with the earth, we also deplete our relationships with God, because we can no longer see God at work in our brothers and sisters,

And we forget that God’s goodness to us is visible all around us in creation. 

We forget that God wants to work through us, just as God did through Jesus, to bring God’s kingdom here to earth. 

What we give up in fasting allows us to grow fuller in God’s presence in us and around us. 

So no wonder the Church invites us to observe Lent by self-examination–

Examine yourself to see what divides you from others, from the earth and from God, and repent from these divisive things.

Prayer, fasting, and denying yourselves these divisive things will be helped by meditating on God’s holy Word. 

Because God’s Word tells us that God so loved the world that God gave Jesus, so that we could live in love with God and one another for eternity. 

So in thanksgiving for all that God has done for us, and especially for Jesus, may we all choose Lenten fasts this year that will help to break down the dividing walls between us and draw us closer to God, to one another, and to all of God’s creation.