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Minnesota Episcopal
Environmental
Stewardship
Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Church in Minnesota
Shield of Episcopal Church

Upcoming Activities:

Next Meeting:

We meet quarterly close to the solstice and equinox.


Resolutions:

Resolution on the Spirituality of Food Production

Resolution on Church Buildings and Grounds


Resolution on Creation Season

Resolution on Green Congregations

 

Lectionary Reflection

Ash Wednesday, All Years
Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary
Revised Common Lectionary

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-21

Jesus said, "Beware of practicing 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."

 

Reflection on Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-21
by Nan Stokes

The Gospel of Matthew includes many teachings of Jesus as a continuation of the Sermon on the Mount the scene where Jesus is preaching to the multitudes on a Mountainside and giving them "words to live by" which can sustain them in all manner of circumstances. Being "outdoors" was the way of life in Galilee, and the Holy Land is full of places where it is easy to imagine Jesus as a teacher, sitting down and engaging his followers in conversation and instruction. There are many creation images in this section of Matthew, and reading it while being aware of those- images gives new meaning to the gospel message. In the Ash Wednesday gospel lesson, however, there are no such images we are to "beware of practicing our piety before others in order to be seen by them", and instructed how to give alms, where to pray and how to fast. Only at the end of the reading are we brought back to earth and told not to store up treasures on earth because moth and rust can consume and thieves can break in and steal both earthly possibilities. These words should give us pause when our earthly treasures accumulate, we find ourselves occupied with preventing moth and rust and thievery. We do have better ways to spend our time and earthly treasure: storing up treasures in heaven! How better to begin our Lenten discipline concentrating on heavenly treasures.

Printable version

 

Reflections on other Readings for Ash Wednesday, All Years:

Reflections available at the active links
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
or
Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm
New Testament Reading
Gospel
Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-21
(this page)

Nan Stokes (1929-2010) is a past co-chair of MEESC (2002-2006). She resided in Duluth, MN, when she originally wrote this reflection in 1998. We welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to our WebVerger or any MEESC member, or mail them to:


MEESC
c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

The MEESC assumes that all correspondence received is for publication on this web site. If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence. The MEESC reserves the right to decide which items are included on the website.

 

   

This page last updated 2013-02-13.

 
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