“BUTTON YOUR LIP!”
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 (NRSV)
“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (vs.1-4)
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. This is a day when we humbly recognize our sinfulness and remember that “to dust we shall return.” So today our gentle nudge will be to deepen in humility.
Many of us may remember being told by teachers or parents to “button our lips” and be quiet. With a twist of our fingers across our mouths, we were encouraged to stop talking! This is an appropriate practice for today, as our passage from Matthew warns us against practicing our piety before others. Today, whether we fast, begin another discipline, or do a kind deed, let’s try to refrain from telling anyone. Trust that “our Father sees in secret” and that is more than enough! For isn’t this our very reason for being? Let our prayers and awareness be for our humility, to empty ourselves of our pride.
Our tangible reminder is a button. If you don’t have one to carry with you, you are welcome to copy and paste my photo to your computer or cell phone, and then use it as a screen saver or wallpaper. May our buttons remind us to keep silent about our practices- or ourselves!
Awesome God, I am so imperfect and small,and yet you love and forgive me beyond limits. Please keep me quiet about anything that makes me prideful. Keep me mindful of Jesus and his life of obedient humility. Keep me mindful of my brokenness today. Most of all, keep me mindful of your infinite, merciful love. Thank you. Amen.