March 11, 2015

A Wednesday Meditation, Third Sunday in Lent 2015

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Preacher: Benjamin Lee | Series: Guest Preacher, Lent

Much of our attention thus far in Lent has been on the negative spiritual exercise of purification, or purgation—a kind of spiritual cleansing.  On one level, that is what the confrontation with demons in the wilderness, and the casting out of devils, has been about.  It is negative precisely as a process of disillusionment: the unmasking of our willful illusions and cherished fantasies, the dispelling of the devilish lies that we have come to love as truth.  In learning to fast and pray in the wilderness, we are learning the renunciation of our own desires, for we lust after so many false images, we worship so many dead idols, and we love our self-deceptions as though they could satisfy our longing for wholeness, but really they are the cause of our anxiety and alienation.  In short, through our Lenten disciplines we are learning to renounce all evil within ourselves.  Such an undertaking seeks to fulfill the promise made at our baptism, to “renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the sinful desires of the flesh” (BCP, 526).  But of course this is but one half of our baptismal profession, whereby we must not only “die from sin . . . continually mortifying all evil desires,” but also “rise again unto righteousness . . . daily increasing in all virtue and godliness of living” (BCP, 530).  …

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