Thought for the Day by Tim Ward (St Chad’s)
Todays readings, show perspectives on not being perfect, on doing the wrong thing, on sin and on religious law. In his letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul anguishes over his failings,
21So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.24 What a wretched man I am!
Likewise, Job talks about the impossibility of perfection:
Who can bring what is pure from the impure?
Paul is keen to have his cake, and not eat it. He wants to show how the Christian faith was not about keeping the law, but that sin remained a living reality, something to resist. But if he cannot overcome the law; he cannot become pure, what is answer? He continues:
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Rather than attempting an explanation of this, here is a poem from George Herbert. which takes up the theme of grappling with sin, and the hope of deliverance, or enrichment
Lord, who hast formed me out of mud,
And hast redeemed me through thy blood,
And sanctified me to do good;
Purge all my sins done heretofore:
For I confess my heavy score,
And I will strive to sin no more.
Enrich my heart, mouth, hands in me,
With faith, with hope, with charity;
That I may run, rise, rest with thee
Note: In the 17th century George Herbert was rector of the rural parish of Fugglestone St Peter with Bemerton, near Salisbury . Here he lived, preached and wrote poetry. Having suffered for most of his life from poor health, in 1633 Herbert died of consumption only three years after taking holy orders.