Reflection by Rev. Gene Manning
“Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6, NRSV)
These words from Matthew’s gospel bid us to step away from the busyness and chaos of the world and to intentionally enter into the quiet and merciful space of God’s presence. During the season of Lent we are called to self-examination and repentance through such disciplines as prayer, fasting, self-denial and meditating upon God’s holy Word.
Looking at our reflection in a mirror can be difficult. We do not always like what we see and so we turn away ignoring the blemish or the scar that makes itself known and reminds us of our imperfections. But God calls us to a deeper more intimate look at ourselves; one that reaches into the depths of our souls where the unvarnished truth is laid bare. It is messy in those depths where our own brokenness and sinful desires dwell and where we cannot so easily turn away. It is there, if we are honest with God and ourselves, we realize we have fallen short to love and serve all of God’s people. And it is there in the secret of our hearts that we come face to face with our Lord’s passion, his pain, suffering and death. In the face of Jesus we are reminded of our own sinfulness and the mystery of God’s forgiveness.
This Lenten season let the love of God revealed through the passion of Christ serve as a mirror. Enter the secret and often painful depths of self-examination and meet our Lord who is waiting to clean our hearts and renew our spirits.
Rev. Gene Manning is a retired Episcopal priest and is currently an adjunct professor in the Department of Theology at Belmont University. She also serves as a member of Room In The Inn’s Board of Directors.