We keep forgetting the world is going to end (e.g. in this scenario) which is an ignoring of what Jesus often said. That prospect of the imminent end of life - no one knows the day or the hour, said Jesus - gives bite to Lent which began yesterday. Last night I was part of a wonderful joint Anglican-Roman Catholic service in the Catholic parish church of Bryndwr, sharing with Anglicans from my Bryndwr parish and from our neighbouring Fendalton parish.
Fr Rick Loughnan set the tone for our Christian service, welcoming us all from our respective Christian communities, and praying that the service would enable a deeper conversion of our hearts. Mark Chamberlain (V of Fendalton) preached a wonderful sermon with the memorable image within it that our Lenten disciplines are training for the disciplines required of us through the whole year, in the same way that training for a marathon (which he has run) involves running - no one turns up to the beginning of a marathon relying on visualisation of victory and inspiring words from a coach to get them through. To run a marathon one has to run in preparation. Thus we came to the ashing and those wonderful words of our joint commitment to Christ,
'Turn from sin and be faithful to the gospel.'
Now to the implementation of those words over the next forty days!
When time permits, I will return to Romans 14 and 15 and my I-never-intended-it-to-be-so-comment-generating meandering through Paul's subtle theology therein.