Ash Wednesday

Matthew 6:20-21
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Where your treasure is, there your heart, your centre, your core will be also. Drought, fire and flood remind us again that this world is passing away, that your life is always just a step from death’s door. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. We are all born weak and helpless. All lead the same short, troubled life. So why should we treasure the things of this world, pleasure, possessions, and pride, all that is passing away? From Joel (2:1), the day of the Lord is coming, 40 days not counting Sundays until that time when He would come and fulfil His promises, destroying sin, death, and the devil; the Day of the New Creation.

And you are already a part of that New Creation in Jesus, joined with Him by the Spirit in baptism and again soon by Holy Communion. And yet still we are part of this world that is passing away. Jesus had lived in this world for 30yrs before He began His ministry, so to prepare He went into the wilderness, away from the world, and fasted for 40 days. He was tempted by the devil with bread, pleasing the bodily desires; with global power, possession of fame and fortune; and finally to prove Christ’s divinity outside of God’s Word, to take the place of God in pride saying it’s my way or the highway.

Jesus refused all these worldly temptations with the Word of God, and now He tells us to do the same. To fast, give to the needy, and to pray. Not to let your belly, or other lower parts of your body, control your life, not let money or pretty things guide you, not let your pride take you down that wide road to destruction. Those are the ways of this world, if you treasure these things your heart will be destroyed with them. Rather, just as Jesus did, treasure the things of God, His Word, His love, and His power. For these things will never pass away. And if these things of God which you treasure will not pass away, neither will you.

That is the promise of God at His coming. Jesus lived, died, rose and now lives again for you and the New Creation. This world is passing away, hunger, lust, greed, and pride are passing away; but the New Creation in Jesus, this holy life will never pass away. So prepare for the celebration of the New Creation, treasuring the things of God.

And the peace of God which passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus now and forever. Amen.

Rev Joseph Graham.