If you go to church on Ash Wednesday – next Wednesday, Feb. 26 – as so many people do, you will hear an invitation to fully participate in Lent.
It’s the opening verses of the first reading, taken from the book of Joel. Scholars tell us it was most likely composed in 450-400 BC, meaning it has been waiting for you to respond for a long, long time.
Here is what you will hear.
Even now, says the Lord,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the Lord, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger...
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