While the nearer waters roll*
It being the first Sunday in Lent, we started off our service yesterday with The Great Litany which includes all those great “preserve-us-froms” such as “…from the crafts and assaults of the devil; and from everlasting damnation…” and “…from all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil…”
We don’t hear these enough if you ask me. However, I hear that over in England they are discussing getting rid of all references to the devil in the baptismal service. You know, because nobody believes in the devil anymore. Oh please. When will the powers that be in my poor church ever leave well enough alone?
I read the first lesson which was from Genesis and was about Noah and the new covenant God makes with him after the flood. The Gospel lesson was from Mark about Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. It was all tied together in the second lesson which was Peter talking about Noah and being saved through water and then how we are saved through the cleansing water of baptism. Peter is never as logical as Paul and the points he attempts to make sometimes elude me–they probably eluded him. Our rector is not good at clarifying anything, but he did make the point that we are tempted every day. Truly this is so. Not that he mentioned the devil.
Oh where is Jonathan Edwards when we need him?
He is wretched indeed, who goes up and down in the world, without a God to take care of him, to be his guide and protector, and to bless him in his affairs . . .That unconverted men are without God shows that they are liable to all manner of evil . . .liable to the power of the devil, to the power of all manner of temptation . . .to be deceived and seduced into erroneous opinions . . .to embrace damnable doctrines . . .to be given up of God to judicial hardness of heart . . .to commit all manner of sin, and even the unpardonable sin itself. They cannot be sure they shall not commit that sin. They are liable to build up a false hope of heaven, and so to go hoping to hell . . .to die senseless and stupid, as many have died . . .to die in such a case as Saul and Judas did, fearless of hell. They have no security from it. They are liable to all manner of mischief, since they are without God. They cannot tell what shall befall them, nor when they are secure from anything. They are not safe one moment. Ten thousand fatal mischiefs may befall them, that may make them miserable forever. They, who have God for their God, are safe from all such evils. It is not possible that they should befall them. God is their covenant God, and they have his faithful promise to be their refuge. (The Works of Jonathan Edwards)
Our rector mentioned C.S. Lewis and repeated several stories straight from the internet, but he could have just quoted Jonathan Edwards and been done with it. But he didn’t ask me, did he?
Anyway, I continued with my office organization. I put together a little bookcase to put in the closet I cleaned out and now I have more space for all my papers and notebooks.
So now it is time to get down to work and the devil be damned, right?
*Charles Wesley, hymn #699