Piety or Righteousness, In Love or Obligation?

Grace and Peace to you,

My fellow sisters and brothers in Christ

We are on a journey

Breaking away from those chains

That drag us down into sin

And running towards the One

Who has the power to break every chain,

Especially those of death

Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord

Amen.

 What takes us away from the Creator,

That along this Lenten journey

Immersing ourselves in the Holy Spirit

Can bring us back?

What does this season of Lent mean to you?

(pause)

Our Gospel this Ash Wednesday is familiar, right?

It is as if we have walked into church late one morning

In the midst of the Sermon,

In the midst of Jesus teaching those who are gathered there,

After the people have stalked, harassed and gathered

To be in the presence of Jesus

How would have it looked like, right?

To open the doors of the church-

And find no one here,

Because everyone is outside with Jesus Christ

Having that testifying moment

Pleading, Asking, Weeping

For healing,

Abandoning all propriety and decorum

Finding peace about releasing the darkness

which clouds their life

And we come closer to hear Jesus’s words

Instructions on righteousness

And not piety.

There is a difference,

Because our human piety can be poisonous

In building up the Kingdom of God

We are led to believe

Just because we have written an impressive amount

On a check

For a charitable donation

That we make sure all are aware of

That we have executed our duty,

And checked it off our list

And secured our rightful, fruitful place in heaven

(pause)

Just because we position ourselves in a prominent place

Among the faithful

So that our offering up of prayers

Which have been well planned

Well scripted

For all to hear,

That we have proven to everyone present

That we are virtuous

And everyone should indeed listen to what we have to say

(pause)

Just because that we have publically shared throughout emails,

On social media

Everything we are planning to give up for Lent

Even though seeing between the lines,

We begrudgingly comply

And somehow this should be enough evidence

How much of a faithful Christian we really are,

So no one should ever question us,

About where our loyalty lies.

(pause)

See what I did there, beloved?

The Creator indeed calls for us

To share our resources

To comfort those who are hurting so much,

Who have been abandoned by a thoughtless generation,

A generation who have abandoned the Word,

The Word which they have not perceived

“Blessed are the poor, the meek, the merciful

For theirs is the Kingdom of God”

But,

As a whole humanity has the reputation

Of judging one over the other,

And giving based on how we perceive

our fellow sisters and brothers

We ignore the fact that their stress,

Their pain,

Their homelessness

Is a product of human chaos

Is created because of human greed

We selfishly give,

When we can receive a recognition

A reward

A coveted place on the Board of Directions

A plaque on the wall

A trophy to be displayed

When we call ourselves Christians

And act with an empty heart-

How earth shattering would it be

To experience God weeping

Weeping for God’s children

Because we remove ourselves from community

(pause)

The suffering of the unknown

That we pass walking down the street,

Struggling to remain warm,

Or focused

Or maybe we pass by them in a store,

Stressed with how they will get all the groceries they need

Because they have to choose

Or even someone who comes up to us, fearful

They have hit rock bottom

Just as perhaps we too,

Remember when we hit rock bottom

The site of a fellow sisters or brother in Faith

Should wrench our spirits to a moment of despair

What can I even do?

(pause)

Maybe you are able to do something-

Maybe all you can do is stop,

And hold their hand

And pray

And struggle together in that moment.

And perhaps no one will ever know,

The kindness that you give of yourself

Because of the Love that pours down from the Creator God

The Good News is that God sees,

God comforts,

God empowers

And God teaches us through God’s Son,

Jesus Christ!

We were in such need

We ARE in such need

That when no one else cares to hear our story

Our problems

Our worries

When we are sick and tired of putting on that mask

That everything is alright,

JESUS CHRIST comes to US

US, beloved

And even all Jesus does is comfort us

WE KNOW

Everything will be alright

WE KNOW

We are not bumbling, stumbling through this world alone

WE KNOW

Along this journey of mistakes and mishaps

Jesus Christ extends forgiveness,

Grace

Mercy

JUST AS WE ARE CALLED TO DO.

(pause)

Remember that,

Giving up of donuts is not helping bring together

The Kingdom of God,

Unless that money that would have been spent

Is gathered and collected

For our sisters and brothers to have clean water

Viable food

Wellness

Giving up swearing or watching TV or even Facebook

Is not going to advance the journey towards

Righteousness

Unless removing those things that keep us bound

To the confusion of this world

Allows us to clear our hearts and minds

Of the negativity

That spews out hurt which stings

Instead of the Love of God within each one of us

Calling us,

Bringing us

To a place of forgiveness

(pause)

Forgiveness!

Remember this journey is about submitting

Submitting to the will of the One,

Who FORGAVE on the CROSS

And gave up of Himself

So that we may live!

And in turn love one another.

Be humbled, because you are made of earth,

But raise your heads

Because you are also woven with the dust of stars,

Created by God.

Thanks Be to God.

 

 

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