Thursday in Lent 2

Morning Office Readings: Psalms 70,71,74; Jeremiah 4:9-10, 19-28; Romans 2:12-24; John 5:19-29

“For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

There are a lot of waysto be doers of the law instead of hearers only (yeah, I know Paul’s using law a little differently than I am.  Work with me here!).A group of clergy were recently discussing online how to “reclaim space without program” in our parishes. At first, I mostly ignored the conversation because it didn’t seem to be going anywhere.  But then one of my colleagues said this (and I’ll leave it anonymous since I haven’t asked permission):

“My experience is that church is mostly ‘lex programmati lex credendi’ to the point that we no longer know how to create space for the holy without [a program]…. So, a forum to learn to pray instead of just saying we will gather to pray. Or teaching about justice without doing it. Or catechesis as if the liturgy were ineffective to form us. The over programming of the faith has left us without space for the holy in our lives.”

That got my attention, and if you’re a member of a church, it should get yours, too.  Our life together needs structure and organization, but it can too easily fall into entertainment and distraction.  Here’s what Paul and my colleagues are teaching me this morning:

Learning about love is fascinating and can lead to some excellent dialogue.
Loving is hard and slow and frustrating, and it will change your life.

Learning about prayer is fascinating and can lead to an appreciation for all the ways people reach out to the divine.
Praying to God is hard and slow and frustrating, and it will change your life.

Learning about justice is fascinating and will expand your horizons and put you on the right side of an argument.
Doing justice is hard and slow and frustrating, and, bit by tiny bit, it will change the world.

Many of us will gather during Lent to learn more about the theology of Eucharist, under the guidance of Mother Jenna.  If after our time together, we only become conversant in the what and why of eucharist, we’ll sound a little more smart and interesting at the next episco-nerd gathering.  But if we learn to more deeply make eucharist, we will grow more fully into the image of Christ.

May I be a doer of the law this day, and not just a hearer of it.


Fr. Greg+