Holy Manna: February 22, 2023 (Ash Wednesday)

Holy Manna: A Lenten Devotional for St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Read: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

I find it amusing that the point of today’s Gospel reading is to not put on airs and make a huge deal about fasting, praying, and giving alms… and yet we are having ashes imposed on our foreheads as a sign of repentance for our sins. Oops! Maybe I should be rethinking the posting of the selfie with my #ashtag… I mean, a hashtag?

Still, getting together for worship as a community today is beneficial for us. The ashes are evidence of our acknowledgment of our sin, and doing it publicly keeps us humble. It would be easy to think that our sin is minor and doesn’t harm anyone… when the truth is that our sin harms other people and is a cancer growing in our soul. Some of us also need the reminder that *ALL* of us are sinners because it is also easy to beat up ourselves for our transgressions, no matter how minor, even after we have confessed them and been forgiven by God.

One of the things the priest will be doing during the service is to enjoin us to observe a holy Lent. Let us start by getting together today to acknowledge our sins… and the *GOOD NEWS* that we are *FORGIVEN* by God.

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP, p. 264)
-Jen McCabe