Ninth Day of Lent   12 comments

Reconciliation Statue at Old Coventry Cathedral, Coventry, England

Image Source = Rebecca Kennison

Friday, March 6, 2020

Collect and lections from the Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints

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Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Ezekiel 18:21-28 (New Jerusalem Bible):

[The world of Yahweh as addressed to me as follows,]

If the wicked, however, renounces all the sins he has committed, respects my laws and is law-abiding and upright, he will most certainly live; he will not die.  None of the crimes he has committed will be remembered against him from then on; he will most certainly live because of his upright actions.  Would I take pleasure in the death of the wicked–declares the Lord Yahweh–and not prefer to see him renounce his wickedness and live?

But if the upright abandons uprightness and does wrong by copying all the loathsome practices of the wicked, is he to live?  All his upright actions will be forgotten from then on; for the infidelity of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, he will most certainly die.

Now, you say, ‘What the Lord does is unjust.’ Now listen, House of Israel: is what I do unjust?  Is it not what you do that is unjust?  When the upright abandons uprightness and does wrong and dies, he dies because of the wrong which he himself has done.  Similarly, when the wicked abandons wickedness to become law-abiding and upright, he saves his own life.  Having chosen to renounce all his previous crimes, he will most certainly live; he will not die.

Psalm 130 (New Jerusalem Bible):

From the depths I cry to you, Yahweh:

Lord, hear my cry.

Listen attentively to the sound of my pleading!

If you kept a record of our sins, Lord, who could stand their ground?

But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered.

I rely, my whole being relies, Yahweh, on your promise.

My whole being hopes in the Lord, more than watchmen for daybreak;

more than watchmen for daybreak let Israel hope in Yahweh.

For with Yahweh is faithful love, with him generous ransom;

and he will ransom Israel from all its sins.

Matthew 5:20-26 (New Jerusalem Bible):

[Jesus said,]

For I tell you, if your uprightness does not surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.

You have heard how it was said to our ancestors, You shall not kill, and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court.  But I say this to you, anyone who is angry with a brother will answer for it before the court; anyone who calls a brother ‘Fool’ will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and anyone who calls him ‘Traitor’ will answer for it in hell fire.  So, then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering.  Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison.  In truth I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

The Collect:

Lord Christ, our eternal Redeemer, grant us such fellowship in your sufferings, that, filled with your Holy Spirit, we may subdue the flesh to the spirit, and the spirit to you, and at the last attain to the glory of your resurrection; who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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How much better would our households, extended families, neighborhoods, communities, towns, cities, counties, nations, and world be if more of us tried more often to treat each other with simple respect?  If we were to refrain from so many insults, much less acts of violence, not only would watching all-day cable news channels and reading comments beneath YouTube videos be more pleasant, but society would be in better shape than it is.

The main idea is that how we think dictates how we act.  I  refer to patterns of thinking, not rare and occasional stray thoughts.  So, with this in mind, consider the following hymn lyrics by John Keble.  They make the point better than I can.

1 New ev’ry morning is the love
our waking and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life, and pow’r, and thought.

2 New mercies each returning day
hover around us while we pray;
new perils past, new sins forgiv’n,
new thoughts of God, new hopes of heav’n.

3 If on our daily course our mind
be set to hallow all we find,
new treasures still of countless price
God will provide for sacrifice.

4 The trivial round, the common task
will furnish all we need or ask:
room to deny ourselves, a road
to bring us daily nearer God.

5 Seek we no more; content with these,
let present rapture, comfort, ease
as God shall bid them, come and go–
the secret, this, of rest below.

6 Only, O Lord, in thy dear love
fit us for perfect rest above,
and help us this and every day
to live more nearly as we pray.

KRT

Written on February 21, 2010

Edited on October 27, 2010 and on June 13, 2012

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Posted October 27, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2020, Episcopal Church Lectionary, March 6

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