Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday 2010 Sermon

Sometimes we give going away wishes to each other. In my younger years I remember when people would say to each other when they parted: “Work hard.” Then, it changed to: “Take it easy.” Some people were upset when it went from “work hard” to “take it easy”.

When two people parted it was a way to remind the other of what was important. What might it be today? As I watch you and me and the world around us, it might be: “hurry up.” Get going. That certainly seems to be the wish of our age- to move faster and faster. At break-neck speed we go toward our destination- whatever that is. We might not know where we are going or where we want to go; we just seem to want to get there faster.

It’s like we’re in a race- a race to work- a race to get home- a race to get wherever it is that we’re going- a race to grow up- to get out- to move forward.

So, the Church/God invites us to the Season of Lent. Today, Ash Wednesday, is the first day of the Lenten Season. And, the church invites us to a time of reflection saying: “Take your time…” What’s your hurry? Pay attention to the time, the time that you have, the time that God gives you…

The scripture is always that familiar text from Matthew 6. It’s the Sermon on the Mount. It’s a call to the practices of our faith. It’s about prayer and fasting and giving to the poor. Jesus warns us not to be hypocrites, living our lives for show, so that others will notice how good we are. When you pray, don’t say long prayers so that others will be impressed; go to your closet and talk to God. When you fast, keep it to yourself. When you give alms to the poor…

Just a few verses earlier, Jesus says: “Let your light shine so that others may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven…” If we live as Christ calls us to live our lives will shine like a light in a darkened world, just remember who you’re doing it for, and who the light really is.

In a moment, we will mark you with the traditional Ashes to mark our entrance into the Season of Lent, the Season of the Cross. Tonight we begin 40 days and nights of trying to put our lives under the shadow of the cross in the hope that it will dawn us all over again who it is that we’re doing this for…

So, take your time, look at the time you’ve been given. What are your priorities? Whom do you need to forgive? From whom do you need to ask forgiveness? Are you focused, not on your own actions, but on God? Consider all these things as we move closer to the cross. Take your time.

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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