Readings and Pondering for Ash Wednesday; 6 March 2019: Lent

Eucharistic Readings for Ash Wednesday 6 March 5, 2019

Joel 2:1-2,12-17 Psalm 103 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 Matthew 6:1-6,16-21

Matthew:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

My Pondering

This statement is so true.  But it’s a little misleading.  It almost implies that the treasure comes before the heart.  But it’s the other way around.  You see our money and resources follow our desires. Our heart is already there.  When we get money or something of value we use it to navigate to where our desires, our hearts lead us,.  And here’s the thing, we get to say what our heart’s desire is. We also get the opportunity to adjust it, to say what we want to like or love.

Often we cannot follow our hearts desire because we don’t have the resources to do so.  Years back in our Diocese, we wanted to increase the money in our retired clergy fund.  We wanted to ensure that our retired clergy had enough to live on.  At that time giving was low but our desire to do this was strong.  I remember being at an Executive Council Meeting where I said, “Our hearts have taken us places that our checkbooks can’t follow.”  Our Diocesan Treasurer remembered my words and as I have spoken to her recently, she still reminds me of that time.

This same thing still happens to us today.  And sometimes it is a good thing.  I am often pleased that I didn’t have the money to buy a boat years ago.  I have come to realize that it was not something that I really wanted, or needed.  As I get older the distance between my wants and needs shrinks. I am closer to wanting only what I truly need.  I’m not completely there yet. I’m still a work in progress but I can see where I’m headed.  The Lenten season can help me get a clearer perspective on wants and needs by practicing needs first.

Finally, I have come to understand that I cannot adjust my own heart’s desire.  I need help. I need God to step in and gently move my desires to that that is pleasing to God.  It is taking me a long time to realize that God will send me that that will be pleasing both to God and to me.  This is made manifest in the people put in my path as well as vocational adjustments in community.  This adjustment is a cleansing from God.  And it takes God to do it but we first have to want it, while not knowing what “it” is.  I am so glad to pray our Collect for Purity every Sunday and it is only fitting that I recall those words now.  “Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid:  Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.” (1979 BCP p. 355)

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people and “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.”  John Thomas Frazier Sr.


One thought on “Readings and Pondering for Ash Wednesday; 6 March 2019: Lent

  1. For years I have often joked that Madison Avenue ‘s efforts to get people to buy the latest and greatest big-ticket item were completely lost on me. It’s not that I didn’t like nice things; it’s just that I didn’t think that having those things were essential to my well-being. I grew up with parents who both worked a full-time job, as well as a part-time one, working so that we could have a few extras, such as (for me) dancing school lessons. Even at a young age I was appreciative of those extra things. However, my heart’s desire, my true treasure lay in the relationships that brought me love and joy. Treasures like the memories of Sunday drives as a family along the north shore of Long Island, my 15th birthday slumber party where my mom cooked an awesome dinner and baked a scrumptious cake for my guests, or my grandma giving me and my brothers new underwear every Christmas. These memories weren’t a big deal monetarily, but they were examples of what prompted me to give back to my family gifts that were selected especially for them, items that meant something special to the receiver — even if they weren’t hot, big-ticket items. I have been blessed by God to have had jobs where I was connected to people by way of relationships, whether in education, social service, and now in nursing. Nursing has brought me the most “money treasure”, which in turn has led me to have more available resources for other people who have touched me, who have gifted me with love and joy, each in their way. Because of these special relationships — family, friends, co-workers, students/clients/patients, my treasure goes where my heart flows. My intention this Lent is to focus on sharing the love and joy with those whom I have no relationship (yet)., not by way of money necessarily, but by making connections. That’s what God taught us is the real treasure.

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