Thursday, March 08, 2007

Jeremiah 4:9-28; Psalms 70, 71; Romans 2:12-24; John 5:19-29

Today’s readings have a common theme. Much has been written about this theme, not only in Scripture, but also in songs, plays, novels, and movies. The theme, of course, is good versus evil – and the need to overcome any evil in our hearts to live a life full of God’s grace.

Greek tragedies, Shakespearian plays, and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien present classic battles of good versus evil. In most of these works, we see clearly who is evil and who is good. Sometimes the good guys win. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the characters in these works make choices that lead to their demise.

Today’s passages warn us to turn away from evil. From the Old Testament reading, the price for evil in our hearts is ultimate ruin. From John’s gospel, the price is condemnation. But with God, we have hope, refuge, and deliverance. With God’s love in our hearts, we can make sure that there is no room for evil.

In our world today, I believe that real battles are being waged between good and evil. Many are small; some are monumental. We witness the struggles in our community. We see the news reports from across the world. From my own experience, it can be far too easy to succumb to temptation, large or small. Evil in this world can detour us off the path that we know is right. However, through quiet prayer and from the acceptance of God’s grace, his overwhelming love that can truly overcome evil.

To help us in our daily struggles, we have hope in the Lord. If we “wash the evil” from our hearts, we can indeed be saved. We can take refuge in God’s word and be delivered. Most importantly, with the grace of God, we will have love in our hearts. We can praise God, follow his laws, and tell others of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Today’s readings provide a sober warning to turn away from evil. Scripture guides us in accepting the grace of God. In this season of Lent, this time of quiet prayer, may God, who came into the world as Christ Jesus, be with us always, helping us choose the right path. In our acceptance of his grace, may we overcome evil and live in accordance with his word and with faith, hope, and love. Amen.

John Martin

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