Updated: Mar 8
Here's a link to the Ash Wednesday Scripture at the Vanderbilt Lectionary site.
Here's all the stuff that I liked about the Daily Lectionary in the Service of Morning Worship today.
Psalm 51:10-13 talks about the Spirit: "put a new and right spirit within me," "Do not take your Holy Spirit from me," and sustain in me a willing spirit." I love this in light of the Jahwist God scooping up dirt, and forming it into a human and blowing God's Spirit in us. Take that Spirit from us and all we are is dust. If we keep our own spirit in us, then we don't have God's Spirit in us and we may as well be dust. As we come alive to the Spirit and die to sin, our own spirit becomes more willing--more aligned with God's will.
Joel says to sanctify a fast, call an assembly. Isaiah says don't bother with all that sackcloth and ashes and ritual; if you aren't already doing justice in society, God will not listen. Matthew says to practice your piety in your room and in secret. I love it when the same Bible tells us different things so that we have to grapple with it and understand more nuance. What I detect here is a set of axes: individual <--> community, acts of piety <-->acts of justice, doing unto others for others (alms, justice), doing unto others for recognition (alms, prayers by the hypocrites). When scripture seems to contradict itself, I think harder and usually find that the Living Word behind the written words is consistent.