March 9, 2011

Thursday, Day Two

            The Lectionary

Morning - Psalm 27, Genesis 19:1-3, 12-17, 24-28, 1 Cor. 1:1-17
Evening - Psalm 29, Psalm 30, Jeremiah 1:4-10, 13-19, John 8:1-11

John 8:1-11

 1Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
 2And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
 3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
 4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
 5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
 6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
 7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
 8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
 9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
 10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
 11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.


The woman taken in adultery shows the great mercy of God.  He rejoices over every sinner that repents.  He forgives every sin.  He wants only life and good things for His people.  We would expect Him to cast the first stone.  It was His Law that required death for the crime.  He is the One who cannot look upon sin.  Yet His words, like His actions, are those of grace and forgiveness.  "Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more."  The reading encourages us to seek this God of Grace.  If this woman can be forgiven, will He not also forgive us?        

            Devotional Thoughts

Perhaps you are new to the practice of Lent.  If so, you may wonder, why Lent?  It is true that the Bible says nothing of Lent, but it does in many places encourage the things we do in Lent.  The Christian's goal is to spend every day in the closest devotion and fellowship with God. In practice, other things often crowd out this goal.  It is important, therefore, to set aside time for the specific purpose of reconnecting to God.  Some traditions do this through “Revival Meetings.”  Some use religious “retreats” and "conferences."  We in the Anglican Orthodox Church do this in the forty days prior to Easter, the time called Lent. The Collect for Ash Wednesday sets forth our goal in a beautiful and Biblical prayer, which we pray every day during the Lenten Season:

"Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of Thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

There is logic in the flow of the Church Calendar, as there is logic in the Scripture readings for each season. Advent begins a time of serious study of the life and ministry of Christ.  Advent leads to Christmas.  Christmas leads to Epiphany.  Epiphany leads to Lent.  Lent leads to Good Friday and Easter.  All of these follow major events in the ministry of Christ.  Lent itself follows Christ as He sets His face toward Jerusalem and the cross.