Journey to Daily Prayer – Day 3
Friday after Ash Wednesday
“Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?”
If you think you’re experiencing some déjà vu with the Isaiah reading, you are! We read the same Scripture on Ash Wednesday. But notice that today’s reading ends earlier at God revealing himself to those who have fasted rightly. He says, “Here I am!” On Ash Wednesday, we talked about two kinds of fasting—true and false, right and wrong fasting. False fasting was hypocritical fasting to get something out of, to exploit God; true fasting was to experience more of God. Interestingly, both readings today dig deeper into true fasting. True fasting is happy, not mournful fasting. It’s fasting that knows we aren’t chasing after a distant and angry god. Rather it’s fasting that rejoices because God is with us, “Here I am!” It’s fasting that has the same enjoyment as a wedding banquet. How can this be? Because fasting is always about letting go of something to experience more Jesus in our lives. And our souls enjoy more Jesus don’t they? We fast so that we can see him, hear him, taste him, touch him more clearly—not only in our hearts and souls, but also with our eyes, palms, and lips in Word and Sacrament, in the Eucharist. Ultimately, our fasting is happy because we let go of sinful attitudes and behaviors, and instead enjoy our Bridegroom’s presence at his dinner party, the Eucharist. So, are you ready to enjoy your Lenten fast?
Support us, O Lord, with thy gracious favor through the fast we have begun; that as we observe it by bodily self-denial, so we may fulfill it with inner sincerity of heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.