God is always open to having a relationship with us. But often things get in the way of our relationship. One such thing our human desire for recognition, which can lead to self-righteousness. Jesus addresses this when he tells us in Matthew 6 that when we pray, we should do so in secrecy. Those who pray loudly and publicly trump their Christianity are receiving their reward on Earth — recognition.
It’s easy to understand take this story literally and think it’s just about prayer. But it’s about more than that. It’s about our relationship with God. In this highly partisan time, we’re tempted to publicly tout our allegiances to political parties and policies, surrounding ourselves with Facebook friends who will praise our beliefs. But are we doing this just to feel vindicated in our beliefs?
Imagine if we took Jesus’ words to heart, and practiced secrecy in our prayer. Imagine if we silently praised God and practiced God’s work on Earth. Imagine the political influence we would have if we, as people of God, all silently acted like Jesus, instead of arguing about what to do. Silence can be the formation of an alternate political reality.
“The Secret Life of Piety”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Matthew 6: 1-7, 16-18
March 19, 2017 • 3rd Sunday of Lent