Sweeping leaves! (03-09-20)
Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector.
The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income’.
But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ’Oh God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God.
(Luke 18: 10-14)
On Tuesday, Catherine mused on the impact of storm Francis. Francis damaged the tall and shallow rooted annuals in her garden, but failed to damage the deep rooted trees in her neighbours garden.
Catherine observed that we also need to be rooted and built up in Christ so that our faith will be strong enough for whatever happens. But Francis also illustrates another gift from the Holy Spirit, one which her neighbour will have noticed.
After Francis, I found myself sweeping up an awful lot of leaves. Leaves that the trees recognise they no longer need, and which can be discarded with abandon. Leaves that have no place in the new life of the tree next year.
The invasive vision of the Holy Spirit readily identifies behaviours, habits and thoughts which have no place in our new life in Christ. If we are firmly rooted, the breath of new life will blow away the old, to create space for new behaviours, new habits and new thoughts.
It’s hard to sweep up all the fallen leaves. Francis was strong. The leaves find their way under bushes, around corners, and are spread over a wide area. At what point do I stop?
Clearing up our act, cleaning up the poor behaviours in our lives, is the beginning of our journey into heaven. The Lord doesn’t really care about what we did in the past, but about what we are going to do in the future.
I’ve swept enough. Time to move forward.
Thank you for blowing away my transgressions.
May the Holy Spirit help me to grow anew.