Eucharistic Readings for Ash Wednesday 6 March 5, 2019
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
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.