Lent 4, Friday, Year B

Inspired by Daniel 12:5-13 

“Many shall be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked shall continue to act wickedly. None of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.” Daniel 12:10 (NRSV) 

To be a Christian is to be a member of the body of Christ, a part of the whole, and cannot be done in isolation. However it is an individual choice and effort to determine how best to participate, depending on the unique gifts and abilities God has given each of us.

Attempts to ‘Christianize’ a nation or even the world by political mandate and enforcement are misguided at best and dangerous at worst. For a person who follows the letter of the law only to avoid earthly punishment and imprisonment is not someone who is wise, being purified, cleansed, and refined by the Word of God. Furthermore it sets up an artificial dichotomy between good and evil, Christian and unchristian. It also provides incentive for the wicked to not only seek their own interests, but to fight against anything that might be part of the oppressive ruling regime—i.e. makes those who have had Christianity forced upon them enemies of Christ and his followers.

We who follow the Lord of Life are not called to eliminate wickedness from the world. We are called to resist wickedness within ourselves, to reflect the joy of grace received in our lives, and to function together as the whole body of Christ, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in our words and actions. For Jesus came not to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Let us pray. Lord of Life, it’s your place alone to judge the world. Enable us to follow the law you have written on our hearts, that we may trust you to reveal yourself in your own time and according to your own will to all your people. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.