Ash Wednesday 2017 Yr A Treasure and Change

March 1st, 2018

Ash Wednesday

by Rev. Joanne Izzo


Where your treasure is, there you heart will be

With the departure of Nora Smith this past Sunday, Lent might feel like either rubbing salt in a wound or just the right low key atmosphere to ponder the best memories of your time together during these next weeks. The end of a familiar relationship between pastor and community is a keen reminder that even in the best of relationships and situations nothing in this life is forever.  We are reminded as we begin the Holy Season of Lent that whether we like it or not change wanted or unwanted, is a natural part of life.

Lent is a time when we intentionally seek change, to come closer to the life we desire to live.  We call it repentance, turning around, turning back, or turning aside to see the possibilities of larger life lived now.

During lent we usually embrace a practice or spiritual discipline that we might call addition by subtraction; we subtract something from our routine so that we might create more space for grace in our hearts and lives.  This lent I offer you a different approach to change by giving yourselves an opportunity to experience grace upon grace.

The crowds at the sermon on the mount witness Jesus teaching the disciples “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.”

Jesus is pointing to is a deep spiritual truth; change is a part of life. An aspect I believe folks often miss  is that Our Lord draws our attention to the fact that it is our attitude toward the transient nature of  life that gets in our way; not the things themselves. It is not what we have that is problematic, not at all, it is what we believe about what we have and how we hold it that Jesus calls us consider during Lent. Jesus is reminding us that what is essential is the ground of our values, not the valuables themselves.

I offer you a simple reflection for the season: Imagine a place in your heart as a treasure room. Spend a little time each day during Lent walking through your treasure room. Notice what and who you find there. Reflect on each particular treasure you find there and ask yourself:  is it beyond the reach of moth, rust and thief?  Notice what you value about each person or thing you find there. How does or might it serve as a Holy Currency of building grace upon grace in the context of larger life now?

If it isn’t beyond the reach of moth, rust and thief then accepts that it belongs in another room of your life called useful but not essential.

During this Holy season of Lent Jesus calls us to discern and discover who we are in the Father’s eyes:  “We are earthen vessels who have this amazing treasure within us. And we have a mission to show forth in our lives that transcendent Power belongs to God and not us.”

The season of Lent is a path that can change our hearts and our minds so that our most deeply held desires and our core values more clearly infuse everything we do and the choices we make so that we might enter and dwell in larger life God calls us to Now.  Amen.