As we contemplate mortality and finitude, I wonder if we could treasure washing the dishes.
Lent | Ash Wednesday (Year B)
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Isaiah 64:5 speaks to God, saying, “You were angry when we sinned; you hid yourself when we did wrong” (Common English Bible). It took me a long time to come to terms with the idea of God’s anger. In my own faith, the most helpful idea here is that God is slow to anger. If we forget that God is slow to anger, then God is reduced to a cruel monster out to get us. If we forget anger altogether, then God is reduced to a puppy dog who wants to lick our face no matter what terrible things we continue to do. Both God-the-monster and God-the-puppy-dog are idols: images of God that don’t match what the Bible says.
Christian interest in the sabbath has focused on the family, the home, and the church. Our culture’s assault on leisure, however, extends beyond Sunday.
A particular verse of scripture has been haunting me lately. I hear it as an indictment of an aspect of my personal life. First, it was a lectionary text in Epiphany. Then I found it in the unifying passage of a devotional book I read. “Bring the homeless poor into your house,” we read in Isaiah 58:7, part of a passage on genuine fasting.