Get Thee WAY Behind Me....
My dear wife of twenty six years is a wonderful woman. But she can be a very rigid, hardline person. You see, she insists that since I am married to her I am not to flirt with other people. Can you believe that! Of course you can. That is the way it is supposed to be. And yet.... we are the Bride of Christ and how often do we flirt with the world?
I think we mean to be better than we are. We just forget that sin is dangerous. I don't really need the book that came with my lawn mower. It warns me not to put my hand under the deck when the blades are turning. I think I already knew that, somehow. But I DO need reminding that sin is bad, ugly and dangerous. The Israelites had that crude altar built out of uncut stones, soaked with blood and burnt hair and fat; an altar they were never allowed to clean. It stood there as a fragrant reminder of the ugliness of sin. We, on the other hand, call adultery "an affair" or "a fling." We don't say we lied, we say we misspoke. You can think of a dozen or more instances where we have used our language to excuse our behavior by watering down the "bad" word that implied sin and judgment and replacing it with an "oops" word that implies "well, we're only human..."
Saint Patrick was a man like the rest of us. He was tempted with sin every day of his life. One of the few prayers we know he personally wrote is almost entirely unknown today, but I will put it here so that you can see how seriously he took sin and how much he wanted to stay away from it. What would our lives be like if took sin this seriously? How our our words, thoughts, and actions be different today? How would our entertainments change? We will never know until we declare that we are married to Christ and that no other has a call on our affections or time.
At Tara today in this fateful hour
I place all Heaven with its power
And the Sun with its brightness
And the snow with its whiteness
And fire with all the strength it hath
And lightning with its rapid wrath
And the winds with their swiftness along the path
And the sea with its deepness
And the rocks with their steepness
And the earth with its starkness:
All these I place
By God's almighty help and grace,
Between myself and the powers of darkness!