Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Becoming More Real – Part II
The Very Reverend Timothy Jones
Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
Jesus gives another example. The hypocrites, He says, “love to stand and pray in the synagogues at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others.” Our prayers are not to be done for show, but for communion with God. When it’s time to pray, He says, go find a place where people cannot admire you. Go to a place where you won’t worry about how holy you look. Let your prayers be real, genuine. Not for effect.
Jesus also knew that sometimes we try to impress others not only through our religious acts, but through our possessions. In this same passage where He talks about showy spirituality, He talks about how we hold onto our money. We store up treasures for ourselves, as Jesus said, thinking how these things will give our lives reality and substance. These are things we can feel and gold and show off to others. Then people will know that we are real and valuable, we think. But all these things that seem to make us real, don’t.
All these examples of Jesus come down to the same point: whether giving to the poor, fasting and praying, or showing off out possessions, it’s not the flash and polish that matter; it’s the condition of the heart. The way to be real is not to impress and exhibit what we do, but to be more truly who God has already made us to be.
Lent is a perfect time to look at our temptations to fudge on who we are, a key time to look at our living for others’ approval. Lent calls us back to the truer things, not the glittery or pretentious things.
In these weeks to come, whether we repent or practice fasting or observe special times of prayer, we remember the things that matter most come in plain packages. Lent reminds us to live for something more than appearances. It can be a time to help us go deeper. This season ahead will help our religion be not for display only, but for real.
Columbia Prayer Chain: Tuesday, February 12
In our prayers: Richard Smith, Claudia Strattman, Jennifer Williams, Betty Jo Carson, Gary Davis, Eddie Bolton, Myrna, Esther, Pam James, Doug and Sharon, John Kelchner, Elizabeth Matthews, Nedrick Griffin, Jennifer Handy, Nancy Stuckey, Annemarie Sullivan, Rachel and Randy Wurtzbaugh, Patty Peckham, Denise Byrd, Greg and Lisa Steele, Dean Timothy Jones, Linda Langford, Marty Fritz, Harriet Hancock, Tommy and Robby Palmer, Patty and Ted Mac Laughlin, Janet Long, Bobby Wilson, Debbie and Pat Barry, Betty Jo Sullivan, Patrick and Patricia Barry, Jordan Hill, Doris Clevenger, Charles Sigel, Bob Davis, John Whatley, Nancy Zuckerman, Charles Davis Sr., Bill Carter, Betty Peavy Frick, Joye Cantrell, Fred and Gail, Dale and Norma Sessions, Padge Arrington, Jerry Callahan, Norman Masters
Special prayers for Mary Ellen’s four-year-old grandson, Joseph Patrick, who is fighting cancer
In memoriam: Frank Salvatore Ferrugia, Thomas Murray Sr., P. Bert Roof Jr., Lessie Mae Smith Shealy, Hazel Pracht Caldwell, Dennis Ray Smith, June H. Ziegler Younts
Our prayers are with: the elderly, the homeless, all currently fighting illness, all beloved pets, our president and congress, our police officers and firefighters, all who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box or email me.