Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday in Lent 3: That pestilent fellow Paul

Opening Sentence
Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. Joel 2:13

Collect of the Day
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 119:97-120

Lessons: Genesis 45:16-28, 1 Corinthians 8, Mark 6:13-29

[Screwtape, a senior devil, advises his nephew, Wormwood, a devil in training] . . . If your patient can't be kept out of the Church, he ought at least to be violently attached to some party within it. I don't mean on really doctrinal issues; about those, the more lukewarm he is, the better. And it isn't the doctrines on which we chiefly depend for producing malice. The real fun is working up hatred between who says "mass" and those who say "holy communion" when neither party could possibly state the difference between, say, Hooker's doctrine and Thomas Aquinas', in any form which would hold water for five minutes. And all the purely indifferent things -- candles and clothes and what not -- are an admirable ground for our activities. We have quite removed from men's minds what that pestilent fellow Paul used to teach about food and other unessentials -- namely, that the human without scruples should always give in tot he human with scruples. You would think they could not fail to see the application. You would expect to find the "low" churchman genuflecting and crossing himself lest the weak conscience of the "high" brother should be moved to irreverence, and the "high" refraining from these exercises lest he should betray his "low" brother into idolatry. And so it would have been but for our ceaseless labour. Without that, the variety of usage within the Church of England might have become a positive hotbed of charity and humility.

C.S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters

In the Cross of Christ I Glory