February 26, 2023
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. (Matt 6:1-18)
(Keeping in mind that we should never do anything in consideration of the ‘reward’ but because it is right and good before God that we pray, fast, and give alms.)
Of course, today’s churches are far different from the early churches and most have no tie at all to Judaism as did the early church so we don’t need to be so mindful of these comparisons. We do, however, need to be mindful that we don’t perform our Lenten duty in some showy manner before co-workers or family members who may not be as far along in their Christian journey as we are. The easiest way to ensure that we are performing our Lenten duties properly is to be humble about it. Keep yourself in humility to Jesus and you will be fulfilling your duty and joy.
This Lenten season has been enriched for me as I’ve learned so much I didn’t know. One thing I learned was someone pointed out the rubrics in our 1928 Book of Common Prayer under the Collect for Ash Wednesday – the rubics say, in part, “This Collect is to be used every day in Lent …” So I copied it to a post it note and put it in with Morning Prayer so I don’t forget. “ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Then I found this prayer, “Heavenly Father, I’m truly sorry for the moments today where I missed the mark. I ask for Your forgiveness and the strength to better follow Your call tomorrow. Amen.” I copied this to a post it note and put it in with Evening Prayer so I don’t forget.
And then I found this: https://files.snappages.site/S83QRT/assets/files/2023-APA-Deanery-of-Appalachia-Lenten-De-14.pdf. It’s meant to be used in the same way an Advent Calendar is used – each day through Palm Sunday. It is a rewarding and often moving collection of essays from some of the priests in our jurisdiction and what a difference it has made in my own Lenten duty.
Find those things which enrich your Lenten duty. Lent is, of course, preparation for Easter. We need this special time just as Jesus needed those 40 days in the desert to prepare for what was to come. Ours, of course, is the easier of the two and we should make it as meaningful and important to us as we can make it be.
2 thoughts on “First Sunday in Lent”
Wise words as always Audre. Thank you.
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Bless your heart. Thanks for the kind words.