St Mark’s Lenten Thoughts, Wednesday in the Second Week of Lent

Lent Week Two—Wednesday

Psalm 72 Jeremiah 3:6-18 Romans 1:28-2:11 John 5:1-18

In today’s readings, there is Psalm 72 likely written by Solomon but, perhaps King David? He praises the God of Israel. He asks for God to bless him, and then enumerates how those blessings will be used. In Jeremiah 3, we hear the prophet setting forth the sins of the “faithless Israel and false Judah”. He exhorts his people to
return to Lord and he enumerates all of the good things that will happen when that occurs. In John 5, we have the familiar story of the healing of the man who had been ill for 38 years. However, it was the reading from Romans 2:8 that spoke to me. Specifically: “but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.”

Factious is the word that caught my eye. I wanted to define it to be certain that I understood it. It is “factious” in the RSV translation. It is “contentious” in the KJV translation. Some synonyms for factious are: split, sectarian, discordant, conflicting, argumentative, disputatious, quarrelsome, clashing, warring, disharmonious, and turbulent. The antonym of factious is Harmonious.

It seems to me that, in this current time, too many of us are indeed, factious, argumentative, quarrelsome, and disharmonious. We are not adept at listening to others, nor in trying to understand the perspective of others. We are all too quick to judge others. We know that we do this, and that it is sinful and wrong but, somehow, because we are certain that we are in possession of our own “truth”, we continue to judge others. Romans 2:1 says it plainly: “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are, when you judge another; for in passing judgment upon him you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.”

Let us, in this Lenten season, judge less, listen more, try to understand, and be sympathetic to others. Let us be less Factious and attempt to be Harmonious. May the blessings of God be with you in your efforts.

-Sanders Hearne

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