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18 February 2015

Read today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 6.1-6, 16-21

In Lent we are invited to rediscover the special place where God waits to welcome us.

In our otherwise crowded lives we need moments of stillness where in quietness and confidence we hear again God’s still small voice speaking to us of peace and welcome. As the Psalmist says, “You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).

On Ash Wednesday in many churches worshippers are signed with a cross with the ash made from palm crosses.  This is a sign both of our turning away from self-centredness and sin, and turning towards the God of love. The ashes are an outward sign – what matters is what happens in the secret place of the heart.

I encourage you today to find moments of stillness in Lent. Find a time and a place each day. Make the most of this quietness – it will help you to refocus your vision on what is important as opposed to what is urgent. Prayer changes things: changes us.

Today, Ash Wednesday, please make the commitment to let your soul be still before God daily from now till Easter. I am writing these reflections on our daily readings from the Gospels each day to help you to do just that.

Nobody need know your plan. It’s a secret. A secret between you and God. God alone knows and will help you.

 

‘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.’ (Matthew 6:6).

 

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 6.1-6, 16-21

‘Beware of practising 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.

‘And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.