Ash Wednesday Sermon by Pastor Patrick Fish
February 14, 2018
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Move 1: From self-directed to Christ-directed
My first reaction to today's Scripture was: YIKES!
Upon first glance, our Gospel and the ritual practice of smudging ashes on our foreheads seem to be at complete odds with one another.
But then, after reflecting more on Jesus' words, I realized Jesus isn't condemning spiritual practices. What Jesus is warning against and condoning are the reasons, intentions, and purposes behind spiritual practices.
In no way is Jesus against praying, fasting, and giving. All those things draw us closer to God. All those are ways of responding to God's grace and ways we engage in our life with God.
But what Jesus is concerned with is the why. Why do we do these spiritual practices? Why do we pray? Why do we fast? Why do we give?