The Common Good

A New Hymn for Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday ashes. Image via Wylio,
Ash Wednesday ashes. Image via Wylio,

This coming Wednesday, Febr. 22, is Ash Wednesday. The following new hymn is based on the Revised Common Lectionary’s assigned reading of Isaiah 58:1-12 with its social justice themes.

            O God of Love, the Fast You Choose

  KINGSFOLD CMD (“Today We All Are Called to Be Disciples”)

O God of love, the fast you choose is not some great display.

It’s everything we gladly do to serve you day by day.

It’s not a moment set apart when we will mourn our sin;

For you require a change of heart—  a change from what has been.

Lord, we confess we often sing that you are our delight,

Then we go shouting words that sting; we bicker and we fight.

Oppressing others for our gain, we put our interests first.

We overlook our neighbors’ pain while praying here in church.

You teach us what it means to be a church that worships you:

In setting captive people free, we praise you as you choose.

In sharing bread with hungry folk, bringing the homeless in,

And breaking every bitter yoke we worship you again.

God, bless us as we journey on to live in loving ways.

Then darkness will turn into dawn and gloom will turn to praise.

When justice is our offering, we also will be blest,

And we will know the fast we bring will be our very best.

Biblical ReferenceIsaiah 58:1-12
Tune:  English Country Songs (1893), arr. and harm. by Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1906.
Text: Copyright © 2012 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Hymn Use Permission: Churches that support Sojourners have permission to use this hymn. This hymn, formatted with the music, is also available from The Presbyterian Outlook.

Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is the author of Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor and Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today’s Worship. She serves with her husband Bruce as the co-pastors of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware. Sojourners' past postings by Carolun includes hymns for Blessing the Animals, relief efforts in the Horn of AfricaSeptember 11th anniversarycreation care, economic justice, Matthew 25/disaster relief, immigration, the Gulf oil spill and war in Iraq. A complete list of the 200+ hymns by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, many with peace and justice themes, can be found at 


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