Tag Archives: Galatians

19 May: The Great Lie.

lost.in.space

Reading for Sext

All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

(Galatians 3: 27-28)

I loved books as child and read my way through the whole of the children’s library in my local village. As the day of my adult membership came nearer I marked in my mind the books on the adult shelves I was going to read first. I had a mind that loved all things supernatural and as a child read about faeries and goblins and witches; traditional tales of Hans Christian Anderson that still make me weep and sci fi. Oooh I love sci-fi but also classics like Jane Eyre, the Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner.

One book has stayed in my conscience and I recollected it recently after MOAB was dropped by the US in Afghanistan. It was a sci fi story and I cannot remember author or title – not a well-known one, I think – about an Earthman who was called to investigate a growing darkness spreading across the galaxy like a dark finger. All planets in contact with this darkness went utterly mad. He witnessed the madness but could not fathom its cause. It was utterly destructive. In frustration, he went to the Central Planets and awaited the inevitable doom of the people whom he had come to love and respect. He asked them to steel themselves and prepare for the worst, but they ignored him and carried on joyfully and peacefully with their lives, as they had always done. He was tearing his hair out as the darkness consumed one planet after another in the solar system, getting ever nearer this special place. The darkness enveloped the planet, yet nothing happened. No madness, no wars, no mental breakdowns. All went on as before.

Puzzled, he went to talk to the beings who had commissioned his service in the first place and realised what had happened. The inhabitants of the planet immune to the darkness were uninfluenced by the one thing that had destroyed all the other planets. They paid no attention to lies. The darkness was The Great Lie.

Christ calls Satan the Father of All Lies and perhaps the humble sci fi writer from the 1950’s used this as inspiration to suggest to us, in the form of a simple story, to pay no attention whatsoever to what is not truth. To do so means we need to clothe ourselves in Christ, so we may discern truth from lies.

In this era of fake news, tragedy and frightening weapons, maybe we can take heart from these simple, joyful beings who pay no attention to anything that is not of Christ. Oh, yes, we have them living among us – Franciscans! May the force be with you.

CW.

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Sunday 19th June: How much mercy is too much?

close up of water droplets over wet surface

Quality of mercy: Merchant of Venice, IV:1

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How much mercy is too much?

Galatians 5:13-18 …’the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command: “Love your neighbour as yourself”.’

When I see my sisters and brothers suffering the effects of sin, I can love them as myself by imagining myself in their place.  If I were in their position, how much mercy would I want to be given?  That is very different from asking how much mercy I would expect.

In desiring mercy for myself, I can dream bigger than my expectations.  How much is too much?  What might the Good Thief tell us (Luke 23:39-43)?  He expected his death sentence from human justice but he received from God’s mercy what he dared to hope for – a place with Jesus in the eternal Kingdom (Terms and conditions did not apply).

Is it possible that God, the source of all mercy, could be less merciful than any human sinner?  The idea seems absurd.  It follows, therefore, that however much mercy I can show to another person, God could not possibly show less to me.  This is how I am assured that my own sins are forgiven by the Father to the extent that I forgive my neighbour (Matthew 6:12, 15).  So, how much forgiveness should I show towards my neighbour?  Well, it is a question of how much I really long to receive from God.  It is only human justice that places limits on mercy.  Where human law condemns and exacts punishment, the Law of God simply says, ‘”Love your neighbour as yourself”’.

FMSL

 

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