March 6, 2022 First Sunday in Lent
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Romans 7: 14-25
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
These two readings are us in nutshells. One the one hand, we are ‘good gifts’ and ‘good fruit’ and on the other hand, we ‘o wretched man that I am!’
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (Romans). We deal with this twice daily in Morning and Evening Prayer: “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us.” (A General Confession; 1928 Book of Common Prayer)
We are to be examining our hearts and minds on a daily basis but Lent is a special time, a more focused time, for us to do such soul searching. In the common vernacular, it’s our time to ‘clean up our act’. We accumulate so much baggage and dust, and rust, and stuff that sticks to the soles of our shoes (pun intended) that we need this laser-sharp focus. We need to get out the scouring pads for our mouths, the broom of prayer and Bible reading to sweep out the cob webs in our hearts and minds, and a bucket of the ‘living water’ to wash away the stuff we don’t talk about.
It’s hard work, all this cleaning. We get bruised egos and stub our toes on our faults and trip over the things of the tongue. Brutal. But it’s meant to be. We are preparing for that awful day in which Emmanuel is nailed to a cross and dies because of our sins. The least we can do is clean up around our ‘house’ (or what the Bible refers to as our ‘tent’) On that most glorious day, the day of the Resurrection, we can meet our Lord cleansed and humbly, adoringly, invite Him into our tent.