“Two went to pray? O rather say
One went to brag, th’ other to pray:
One stands up close and treads on high,
Where th’ other dares not send his eye.
One nearer to God’s altar trod,
The other to the altar’s God.”
Richard Crashaw (1633- 1649)
We often speak about the journey of Lent referring to the passage of time e.g. 20 days done, 20 to go, or for the Catechumens in the RCIA programme, only two more Scrutinies before Baptism. This week we meet Nicodemus. He is a Jew but not one of the ‘Jews’ in John’s Gospel. We meet him several times in the Gospel account as he struggles to fully accept the teaching and implication of throwing in his lot with Jesus. He never rejects Jesus, nor disputes his teaching but, and perhaps like many today (and in every age), his faith at this point does not quite match the criteria announced by Jesus. However, all is not lost. There are still chapters in the Gospel for Nicodemus and days in Lent for us.
Our journeys will be different. Hopefully, not as disastrous as that of the chosen people related in brief in Reading One. Some can be as disastrous, and we read about them every day.
Paul reminds us that “God loved us with so much love…though dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ.”
He further reminds us in those mind-boggling words that “We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it”.
So, sinners we were never meant to be…nor to remain in that state.
This week let us take another step “to the altar’s God”