Ash Wednesday 2014

Good morning all! Welcome back (or welcome to) the daily devotionals for Lent!

So here is what happens in these posts…..Each day I will be looking up a scripture from what is called the daily lectionary.  The lectionary is a set of scriptures that is used by many people all over the world to navigate scripture. I usually use a United Church of Christ site. If I am not feeling the scripture, I may choose something else….just a warning.
Today’s scripture: Matthew 6:1-6 (If I don’t note what version I am using here, I am using the New Revised Standard Version)

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.
Then we will talk about that scripture in the bulk of the post.  I may include videos, pictures, scripture explanation, stories, etc.  During Lent, I might even have guest bloggers to help me out.  They may even pick a different scripture or format.  If you have thoughts, please feel free to email me back (In fact, I really love it when I hear back from y’all). And if you miss a day or want someone to see more you can always go to pastorcourt.wordpress.com to catch up or see more or look back at Advent.

So for today…..Today marks the first day of the season of Lent. Let’s go over some basics….
I found these videos to be super helpful in Advent and I think this one is helpful for us today.  Today we get to face our humanness head on. Today we mark ourselves with Ash to remember that we come from dust and to dust we shall return.
ash
Today is a sobering moment in our life.  I struggle with what to do with our scripture lesson that goes with it.  Because we are marked with Ash, we announce who we are and where we belong. We announce who we belong to.  This is not the secret piety that Matthew brings us into and yet because of the Ashes I often kick off Lent with much more introspection. There is much more going on below the surface with me these days.  Perhaps that is what Matthew is calling us to.  A life of more introspection and reclaiming who we are.  We are confronted with the fact that we too shall pass into dust.  This can be a sobering and welcome realization.
Now, let’s talk about the fact that some people give something up for Lent.  This could be a reflection of this piety or it could be the flashy “look what I am doing moment.” Our scripture today is encouraging us to to let it be the first.  I don’t always encourage people to give something up but perhaps take something on.  How will this season look different for you?  Is giving something up meaningful and makes you ponder the presence of God over…social media, sweets, or excess?  Or is it more meaningful to take on making a list of gratitude each day, getting healthier, or making space for meditation?  How will you reflect the season?
So…welcome to the journey these forty days. I look forward to sharing this with you.
And then I will sometimes end with a prayer or just peace…
Dear God, walk with us during this time.  Face us with our own humanity. Love us. Restore us.  Amen.
Peace,
Court
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