Thursday, March 25, 2021

Thursday Of The Fifth Week Of Lent 2021

 Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.

9 Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O Lord, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself. 

All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for meat to relieve the soul: see, O Lord, and consider; for I am become vile.

12 Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.

--Lamentations 1:8-9, 11-12

The world said, "Love cuts like the cold wind, and the will of God is plain as the winter.  Where is the summer will of God?  Where are the green seasons of God's will?  Where is the spring and summer of God's will?"

--Flannery O'Connor

Those struck down by affliction are at the foot of the cross, almost at the greatest possible distance from God.  It must not be thought that sin is a greater distance.  Sin is not a distance, it is a turning of our gaze in the wrong direction.

--Simone Weil

The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused him of being a bore--on the contrary; they thought him too dynamic to be safe.  It has been left for later generations to muffle up  that shattering personality and surround him with an atmosphere of tedium.  We have very efficiently trimmed the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him "meek and mild," and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.  To those who knew him, however, he in no way suggested a milk-and-water person; they objected to him as a dangerous firebrand.  True, he was tender to the unfortunate, patient with honest inquirers, and humble before heaven; but he insulted respected clergymen by calling them hypocrites; he referred to King Herod as "that fox"; he want to parties in disreputable company and was looked upon as a "gluttonous man and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners"; he assaulted indignant tradesmen and threw them and their belongings out of the Temple; he drove a coach-and-horses through a number of sacroscanct and hoary regulations; he cured diseases by any means that came handy, with a shocking casualness in the matter of other people's pigs and property; he showed no proper deference for wealth or social position; when confronted with neat dialectical traps, he displayed a paradoxical humor that affronted serious-minded people, and he retorted by asking disagreeably searching questions that could not be answered by rule of thumb. He was emphatically not a dull man in his human lifetime, and if he was God, there can be nothing dull about God either.  But he had "a daily beauty in his life that made us ugly," and officialdom felt that the established order of things would be more secure without him.  So they did away with God in the name of peace and quietness.

--Dorothy Sayers

And they still do.

I say that we should visit Christ while there is opportunity, take care of him and feed him.  We should clothe Christ and welcome him. We should honor him, not only at our table, like some; not only with ointments, like Mary; not only with a sepulchure, like Joseph of Arimathea; nor with things which have do to with his burial, like Nicodemus, who love Christ only by half; nor finally with gold, frankincense, and myrrh, like the Magi, who came before all those whom we have mentioned.  But, as the Lord of all desires mercy and not sacrifice, and as compassion is better than tens of thousands of fat rams, let us offer him this mercy through the needy and those who are at present cast down on the ground.

--Gregory of Nazianzus, Fourth Century

1 comment:

  1. Our church put together a Lenten Devotional, I was asked to contribute for this day.

    12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:1-12)

    Joy has not described much of this past year. Better descriptions are anxiety, worry and depression. A pandemic with over 440,000 deaths of Americans as I write this, angry mass protests against enduring racism, a bitter political campaign season, attacks on our government, loss of most of the normality of life with closed schools, restaurants, gyms and churches, lost jobs, financial worries, isolation and so much more. Anxiety, depression and worry seem much more appropriate than joy. So today we pray to God to help us. I want to ask God to relieve our depression and anxiety, but instead the psalmist says no, you need to ask for the willing spirit to restore joy. Joy!

    I shouldn’t be surprised. God’s world and vision is always bigger than what I can imagine. When I see someone in need, I (maybe on my better days) will give that extra shirt. God says give the one off your back. When that person with a view so radically different from my own grates against me I pray for tolerance, but God wants me to do more, to love. And when I want to be relieved of my sadness and worries, God sees a world of so much more, and wants to restore my joy. Joy!

    As people of faith we live in God’s world of hope. Not a world of rose co lored glasses and false hope, but a world of the endless hope of our Creator. As we gather together, “for where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them,” even if only over our computers, we gather to share our anxiety and worries, but more importantly our hope and joy. Joy!

    Dear God, in this time of worry and anxiety let me see the world of joy that flows from your endless hope.