Daily Archives: 2017/03/01
“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18, NRSV)
Ash Wednesday seems counteractive to the reading from today. This is the day we go to worship and have the imposition of ashes. Actually, I have friends in bigger cities who go to bus stations or set up tents for drive-through ashes. People get ashes on their foreheads to remember what Christ did and to show they are connected to Christ. Yet here in the sermon on the mount, Jesus tells his followers to do everything in secret and not to even let themselves know what they are giving.
Why do we walk dusty? Why do we get the ashes?
To remind us that we are dust and to dust we will return and that that is not the end. We wear the ashes to show they world that we are human and will mess up, but that we are connected to something bigger than ourselves that is not human and is perfect. And somehow through this life we are seeking to be more like the one who saved us.
The sign of the ashes shows others the love God has for all of us and brings to light the cross that is already there, placed in our baptisms.
So walk dusty.