by Pat Cookson
The Third Tuesday of Lent
[John Keble, Priest, 1866]
Jeremiah 7:21-34 Psalm 78 Romans 4:13-25 John 7:37-52
Man cannot get over himself. We make ourselves the central focus of the world in which we live whether we are looking at ourselves as individuals or as a state. There is no better example of this than the British writer and historian Paul Johnson. In his book Modern Times Johnson shows how, over the centuries, man’s rejection of religion and lofty conviction that it is only through the state that humanity’s condition can be improved leads to spectacular failure every time. One of the most notable symbols of such failure during the last century was the fall of the Berlin Wall. We continue, however, unimpeded in our arrogant belief that we have solutions to every problem here on earth and that man is capable of understanding all the mysteries of the universe without God’s help. Yet how can we begin to contemplate the existence of more than 80 billion galaxies outside of our own Milky Way or what lies at the event horizon of a black hole?
There are very few worthwhile things in this life that can be had cheaply. Why then should it require any less diligence to make Jesus Christ the central focus of our lives? It takes work and most often it is with deep reluctance that most undertake extra labor. However, Lent invites us to let go of our self-centeredness and enter into Christ, to live his ideas, his character, his spirit and his being. We are reminded that our greatest hope for ourselves as individuals and for the work we do to make this world a better place of our fellow man lies in our closeness to Christ Jesus.