For myself and the people of Zion, Bunker Hill, Il. this isn’t really the Friday after Ash Wednesday. We cancelled services because of a narrow band of snow which passed through in the afternoon and evening. So we may do Ash Wednesday this coming week. However, in my mind it really doesn’t matter, since Easter gets moved around between the end of March (2016) and near the end of April (2019). The dates for Easter are on page xxiii in LSB. I could not find a similar listing in ELW. I grew up with the TLH and the listing of Easter dates got me through many a boring minute during the worship service. It allowed me to dream into the future.
In any case, this coming Sunday is the first Sunday in Lent, whether we cancelled Ash Wednesday or not. Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the wild where he is tempting, while fasting, for forty days. At the end of the time Luke writes, “And he was hungry.” I ran across a line from the fourth century churchman and bible translator, Jerome. “When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting.”
In the light of Jerome’s statement, I think of the refugees from Syria and in Syria who are left with empty stomachs and without a home who are fasting, not because they are driven by the Spirit into the wilderness, but by the ruthless bombing and policies of war. They deserve our prayers and our actions, not only because they are human beings, but also because we are Christ’s people.