The lectionary readings appointed for today are wonderful...a beautiful way to begin a holy Lent.
Joel 2. 1 - 2, 12 - 17
or Isaiah 58. 1 - 12
Psalm 103. 8 - 14
2 Corinthians 5. 20b - 6. 10
Matthew 6. 1 -6, 16 - 21
I would suggest reading both OT offerings. The Joel reading, especially noticing the line..."return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning."
And then the Isaiah reading. especially vs. 6 and 7. What a great challenge for us in Lent!
Psalm 103 reminds us that "the Lord is full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and of great kindness."
2 Corinthians affirms that as servants of God " we commend ourselves in every way" through everything imaginable from great endurances to the power of God "with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left." That is quite an affirmation and commendation!
And finally in Matthew's beautiful gospel, we are reminded not to practice our piety before others in order to be seen by them...just go out and do the work.
Fasting is like pruning, it is the hard work that must be done in order for us to bear fruit through new growth. I pray that this Lent we will all find the places, nooks and crannies in our lives where the pruning can be done, knowing that God has been there before us, knows we are pruning and nurtures and loves us every step of the way.
God's Peace as this holy journey begins.