Friday 1 September 2023
Spring Ember Day | Day of penance
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. Let the just rejoice in the Lord – Psalm 96(97):1-2, 5-6, 10-12. Matthew 25:1-13.
Special days of prayer and fasting
Ember Days originated in pagan celebrations at the beginning of the seasons. ‘Ember’ originates from the old English word ‘ymbryne’, meaning a recurring period. The Australian Church observes the first Fridays in autumn and spring (March and September) each year as special days of prayer and penance.
On ember days we offer prayers to the Lord for the needs of all people, especially for the productivity of the earth and for human labour. We also give him public thanks. Given the climate crisis, we need to thank God for the blessings bestowed on us but also consider people and places affected by natural disaster, famine and exploitation. By fasting or abstaining from meat, we can signal a desire to stem the exploitation of natural resources and be reminded of those who suffer or go without due to the continued abuse of the Earth and her inhabitants.