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The Pitfalls Of Practicing Piety
Ash Wednesday

from the book
Sermons for Lent and Easter

John M. Braaten

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21


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I have never liked the word "beware." It always seems to be written in intimidating block letters which suggest life-threatening consequences. The word brings to mind an experience I had as a 12-year-old paperboy. Entering a customer's yard I encountered a collie which, without provocation, charged me with fangs bared, knocking off my glasses and hurling me to the ground. I still remember its moist, rancid breath in my face. Hearing my screams, neighbors came and rescued me. That event not only changed my attitude toward dogs, it changed my life, forever.

That experience surfaced one day when I was on my way to visit prospective members, a delightful couple whom I had met earlier in church. As I approached their yard, the sign "Beware Of Dog" sped adrenalin through my system and nearly drove me away. Then I heard barking. The dog rounding the corner was not a collie but a much smaller dog, a cocker spaniel; still, I froze. ...

This Ash Wednesday sermon, The Pitfalls Of Practicing Piety, is based on Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 and relates to Ash Wednesday of Cycle C of the lectionary. This sermon is excerpted from the book THE GREATEST WONDER OF ALL . SermonSuite offers online sermons and professionally published sermons, lectionary sermons, non-lectionary sermons, children's sermons, sermon illustrations, worship resources, preaching resources, sermons on prayer, prayers, Christian drama, lectionary worship, lectionary workbooks and homilies. ...

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