ASH WEDNESDAY — Year A

Reading: Joel 2:12-18

A reading from the book of the prophet Joel.

Even now – it is Your God who speaks –

return to me with your whole heart,

fasting, weeping, mourning.

Rend your hearts, not your garments.

Return to Your God,

who is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger, rich in steadfast love,

and ready to forgive.

Who knows whether God will not turn and relent,

and leave a blessing behind –

enough to have a grain offering and a drink offering left over

for the Most High, Your God?

Blow the trumpet in Zion!

Proclaim a fast,

call a solemn assembly;

gather the people,

summon the community;

assemble the elders,

and gather the children, even nursing infants.

Let the bridegroom leave his room

and the bride her chamber.

Let the priests, Our God’s ministers,

stop halfway between the entrance and altar

and stand weeping.

Let them say, “Spare Your people, O God!

Do not make Your heritage a thing of shame,

a byword among the nations.

Why should it be said among the nations,

‘Where is their God?’ ”

Then Our God will be zealous for the land,

and take pity on the people.

The Word of God recorded in the book of the prophet Joel.