Wednesday, February 25, 2009
"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:20-21
On this Ash Wednesday, I cannot help but reflect on what it means to have treasures and at the same time, to be away from home and family. I am living off and on at seminary as the Procter Fellow this semester, and am completely grateful for this time of study and renewal. We lived here as a family for three years, and those years made a profound and lasting impact on my life. We came as a family with two young daughters and headed back to Baltimore with three. Mark and the girls made it possible for me to get through all of the challenges that seminary life presents with tenderness, laughter and a sense of humor. They are my treasure, simple as that. To be here without them, only points out to me more clearly their status as treasure. Life here without them is simple not as full and tender as it might be. I can only assume that heaven understands that and God knows my heart well enough to strengthen our bonds when we are apart. God has given these precious people to me as gifts and I pray that in this season, my work away honors, builds and strengthens them for the days ahead.
In the readings for this Ash Wednesday, Jesus teaches about prayer and fasting, and about how to conduct a faithful life. It is not in showy words or actions but in a quiet, loving, and humble practice. It is about inviting God into our lives at every moment trusting God for all our needs rather than investing in the honor of other human beings. Jesus teaches that it is our daily walk of love and concern for others that demonstrates God in our life and not the acknowledgments we get from the church or society.
Today, as I begin this Lenten walk, I want to learn what it means to store up treasures in heaven. I want to walk the walk of love, so that my life is an offering to God in the service of others. And I know that is a very hard thing to do. It is much easier to do the showy talk than to walk humbly in the midst of the church and the academy. I want to honor, with my life, the gifts and treasures God has given me. I invite you this Lent to walk the love road, where ego is left aside and God is invited in. It is a challenging journey, but I believe that walking love and acting for God's compassion in this world will change my life and transform the world to which we have been called. Let us, in this season, give love away so that others might know God is real in their midst.