Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Leaning Into Lent: Day 12—Wickedness, Kindness and Discipline

Psalm 50 in Morning Prayer today.
But to the wicked, says God:
“Why do you recite my statutes
and take my covenant upon your lips,
Since you refuse to be disciplined •
and have cast my words behind you?” (vv 16-17)
…the wicked?! Well, that counts me out and I skim right over because I can’t possibly be one of them. I believe in Jesus, go to church, tithe and am nice to people. That bit can’t possibly apply to me. Or can it?

Fast forward to the very first verse of the reading from Hebrews 2.
Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.
Pay greater attention! That looks like Holy Lent reading, meditating and self examination to me. Is there, in fact, wickedness lurking in any of my dark and secret corners—or cleverly disguised in any of my bright and obvious ones? Is it me reciting the liturgy outwardly with holy tones and a holy look on my face while refusing to be disciplined by not admitting my sin?( Prays: Lord, if there is something for which you wish to discipline me, please bring it to mind and reveal it.)

It is so easy to just focus on and enjoy the love and mercy and kindness of God while drifting away from and glossing over the tougher, demanding stuff. There was one of Paul’s pointed reminders about the dangers of that kind of drifting in Morning Prayer on Sunday:
Note then the kindness and the severity of God. (Romans 11:22–23 NRSV)
…from Night Prayer
I can’t have one without the other. Leaning in to an Holy Lent is about being real with God, the people around me and with myself by enjoying and being thankful for the good while being honest about the bad so love, humility, obedience, thanksgiving, discipline, gentleness and peace will out.