Day by day;
oh, dear Lord, three things I pray:
to see thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
follow thee more nearly:
day by day.
When things become HABITUAL they turn into a RITUAL!
And so, day by day, we easily fall into patterns of behaviour and practice in all areas of our lives: domestic, work, leisure and even our religion. We do the same things and go through the same routines through continual practice and repetition. We don’t think things could or, indeed, should be different. The Jews of Bible times were in the same mind set. Day after day the same sacrifices were made for sin but the sense of guilt remain unassuaged. In time, no one thought things could ever change or be different. Until a man came who did do things ‘day after day’ but in a different way and with a different mind-set: taking up his cross, daily, to lead a different kind of life, of obedience to God and service to others – and calling us to do the same.
The writer of Hebrews summed it up in Chapter 10 The law is only a shadow of a better thing to come. It can never by sacrifices continually offered year after year, make perfect those who come to God. They remain conscious of sin, in fact the sacrifices constantly remind them of it! But when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but in my bodily life I determine to do your will, O God.” Every priest stands day after day offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sin. But Christ offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, and so he has made perfect for all time those who are being made whole – made a new covenant with them, writing his laws on their hearts and minds and remembering their sins no more.
So we are called to a life of joyful freedom, love and obedience in relationship to God, not a joyless religion of guilt-ridden duty. In Lent, we think of Jesus taking up his cross and travelling to Jerusalem and it is appropriate that we try to do things differently: eating less, praying more, finding ways to serve in new avenues, thinking and studying new areas – so that our relationship with God and with each other can be renewed and refreshed.
So, this Lent, why don’t we try something different and new – and set ourselves free from the daily grind?