Wednesday of Lent 2, March 20, 2019
“Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins. His mercy endures for ever.”
When we enter into communion with God and each other through baptism, we are pronounced to be a member of God’s own people. According to our baptismal liturgy, we believe that each baptized person has been “sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever” (BCP 308). Each baptized person has been made a member of God’s household (BCP 309). How we live our lives together as God’s people is a reflection of how we experience God in our midst. The Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is given to all of the baptized. Faithfulness is included as a fruit of the Spirit living within and among us.
The next confession in our Lenten walk through the Ash Wednesday litany has three sections that we will explore over the rest of this week, specifically looking at how we have not lived as members of God’s household who are characterized by being faithful to God’s character:
We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness:
then pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,
We confess to you, Lord.
The first call to confession of our past unfaithfulness is an invitation to reflect upon our pridefulness. Pride, in this context, is not a healthy recognition of one’s accomplishments. Here, pride is one of the seven deadly sins, a perversion of self-love. Pride leads us to forget that we are made for one another, that we are dependent upon one another, and that our accomplishments should be for the building up of God’s kingdom for the sake of all of creation. Pride, as a sin, is when we forget that the gifts and opportunities to develop skills were given to us for the building up of each other (see Ephesians 4). Faithfulness calls us to put our accomplishments into the larger perspective of God’s mission. The Father’s love for all of creation, Christ’s self-giving love through which he gave up his place of honor to live and die as one of us (Philippians 2), the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work of glorifying Christ (John 16:12-15), and the mutual self-giving love between the persons of the Trinity (God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) show us how to live in community as faithful persons.
In what ways have we focused on our accomplishments at the expense of thinking about how our accomplishments are completed through God’s work in us or that these things were done for God glory and to serve others?
In what ways have we falsely diminished our accomplishments and their value for others by a false humility?
O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other's toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(a collect from Compline, BCP 134)