ASH WEDNESDAY – February 17th
Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 51:1-17; 2nd Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
This is a powerful call to us from the prophet Isaiah as we enter this period of Lent – often a period of fasting for many Christians, remembering Christ’s journey to the cross. But this is a reminder that what is called for is not a fast for 40 days from soda, or candy – but rather a fast from the injustice that we see in the world. It is just that kind of fast that the WASH for Lent intiative is calling the church to. To use this time to remember Christ’s call to respond to those in need in our world, and provide them with basic access to water and sanitation.
The first step, as our Psalm reminds us, is to remember our complicity in the crisis – our own overuse of water, and the impact that has. It is to approach the crisis not thinking we have all the answers, but with a broken and contrite heart, open to the spirit of God, through whom we can respond to the needs of people aroud the world. It is in God that our hope rests. It is there where our treasure resides, as our text from Matthew reminds us. And now is the time to use that treasure, to use that spirit of God which flows through all of us, to use our salvation to respond to the needs of those suffering from a lack of water and sanitation around the world.
At a time when 1.1 billion people in our world lack safe water, 2.6 billion lack the security and dignity of a simple latrine, and estimated 5,000people die every day from preventable, water-related diseases – it is time to live into our call. It is time as a church to respond. To give an offering, to offer a sacrifice, to fast so that others may have. May this be the spirit with which we enter into this Lenten season.
- What would you be willing to sacrifice in order that others may have access to water and sanitation this Lenten season? What could you give up that would enable you to aid an organization in bringing WASH to a community in poverty?
- Of what do you have to confess to God as you enter this season? In what ways have you been complicit in the water crisis?
Decide what you can give up this Lenten season, and commit to giving the amount you would spend on that each week to an organization bringing WASH to communities throuhgout the world. Click here for a list of organizations you can donate to.
By Jordan Blevins