Matthew 6.16-21, 2 Corinthians 5.20-6.10
- Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
- Be reconciled to God
- Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Lent isn't for the religious people who think they know precisely what to do to get right with God. Jesus makes this clear when he says,
- When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
- Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
- Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth ...
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven...
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also
- Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?
Lent is for those who can live with the irony of saying, Because I cannot hope to turn again, which is actually an expression that hope exists.
Lent hope is a tough hope; grounded in self-awareness, in a consciousness that life is slender, that goodness is hard to achieve and even harder to sustain.
- Look at me: I worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty. [Groucho Marx]
I don't want to achieve immortality through my work: I want to achieve it through not dying. [Woody Allen]
"Goodness, what beautiful diamonds": [someone said to Mae West]
"Goodness had nothing to do with it!" [she replied]
Yesterday here we held a funeral service for a young man who died suddenly, inexplicably, and the church was packed full of people. Later I received an email from one of those folks, an old friend of the deceased from their days together in Hunters Lane chapel Boys Brigade. He said,
- my faith has teetered for quite a time and something spoke loud to me today ... the whole thing helped me find my faith a bit clearer.
- Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
- The cross, with which the ashes are traced upon us, is the sign of Christ's victory over death. It might be good stoicism to receive a mere reminder of our condemnation to die, but it is not Christianity.
- Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Suffer me not to be separated
And let my cry come unto Thee.