Windows into the Light by Michael Sullivan

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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Wednesday, February 25

Jesus said, “Beware of practicing your piety in front of others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your father in heaven.”
—Matthew 6:1-2

Another day in the church’s liturgical year has arrived. But unlike Christmas and Easter, most of us don’t like this one. Ash Wednesday launches us into self-examination, discipline, and the ever-dreaded decision of what to give up or add to our daily walk. It’s no one’s favorite day.

But the scripture for Ash Wednesday, given to us through the wisdom of the ages, reminds us anew of today’s importance. Jesus tells his disciples, “Beware of practicing your piety before others,” knowing fully how tempting it is to do precisely that. We wear devotion on our sleeve, exhibiting our faith as a way to impress those around us.

To return to the self-examined life, we must use the journey of Lent, a time of intentionality, to ask ourselves how we have hurt others, how we have caused pain, how we have failed to live into the image of God. Lent is our opportunity to practice piety without being seen by others, so we can see ourselves as we truly are before God.

Instead of dreading the discipline of these next six weeks, jump head first into God’s redeeming love. With that love, let God show you a path toward a new wholeness, a new vision, a new life within you as God’s amazing and wonderful creature.

Gracious God, transform my perceptions of Ash Wednesday; let its power and purpose be a startling beginning for a journey toward hope.