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Posted on 03/07/2006 7:38:21 PM PST by sionnsar
Today from Lent and Beyond we have Remember Lot's Wife as a Lenten meditation by Jeffrey Steel, who writes the Meam Commemorationem blog. This particular post refers to the writings of Lancelot Andrewes and if you are further interested in his writings after reading Jeff's post, you really should check out his blog!
Remember Lots Wife
Luke xvii. 32
These words in Luke 17.32 are three words that bring with them a serious call to reflection and remembrance. The call of Jesus is to perseverance in the faith that has been delivered to Gods people in Christ. Remember all the blessings that Lots wife received! Remember all the means of grace that she participated in within the family of God and being delivered from Ur. These short words, though small in compass, set forth a powerful illustration of what we are called to remember in Lent. Remember Lots Wife! This call is given to all of us who have received the blessings of God in baptism and our union with Christ and His Body, the Church. Remembering Lots wife is a call to perseverance and a warning against relapsing into sinful patterns of life. I think we all know the many ways we do not persevere in the grace given to us in Christ. There is no need to pretend against this. Let Lots wife be our example.
This idea for my devotional for the Collaborative Lenten Blogging Effort is taken from a sermon preached during Lent by Bishop Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626). It was preached at Hampton Court, the sixth of March, 1594, before Queen Elizabeth I. The call is for the virtue of perseverance in grace. We live in dangerous days and the danger we face is our falling away. There is much decline of truth, as well as hope, to the extent that we frequently become overwhelmed and feel directionless. It has the potential of causing us to question or doubt what we have been called to as Christians. The pressures of this world upon the Church corporately, and each of us individually, often seems to be more than we can bear. What has often happened is that we move the goalposts of faith around to such an extent that it makes one wonder if he or she is still playing on the original pitch and in the original game. Do we go forward to Zoar or back again to Sodom? This directionlessness is proof that Lots wife has been forgotten. The scriptures are replete with stories of remembering. Remembering is an important part of our Christian journey.
Remembering and memorialising is what Christians do. It is the rationale behind the Church Year. We remember Lots wife, as St. Augustine said, that the salt of this pillar may be the season of our lives. We are called, brethren, to remembering all that God has done for us in Christ and to remember those who persevere and those who do not. We have given up it seems, on asking the former age what to believe and what to do. We know better (we think), but, we have forgotten Lots wife. What is new under the sun? Andrewes reminds us that the call to remember Lots wife, is the call, not to follow her, but to follow Lot.
In this sermon, Andrewes lists the issues that resulted in Lots wifes fall. First, she did not keep the charge given to her. She wondered in distrust. It is the sin of unbelief. Secondly, she began to tire and fall behind. She went from fainting to forsaking. Thirdly, was in her looking back; we see that her love for Sodom remained within her. Her feet took her where her heart was. Fourthly, Andrewes says, When men weary of a good course which long they have holden, for a little ease or wealth, or I wot not what other secular respect, fall away in the end; so losing the praise and fruit of their former perseverance, and relapsing into the danger and destruction, from which they had so near escaped. Preferring what may seem to be easy, before what has been determined to be our safety, she looked back. Remember Lots Wife.
On remembering, Andrewes writes, Remember, we be not weary to go whither God would have usnot to Zoar, though a little one, if our soul may there live; and never buy the ease of our body, with the hazard of our soul, or a few days of vanity with the loss of eternity. The call is to not become slack at our pace or to look back to the vain things in this life and leave our hearts behind or to allow them to wander or long for the things in Sodom. So, when we have remembered Lots Wife, let us also remember Christ, who gave us this memory of a blessed beginning and a hope-filled ending. Andrewes reminds us to remember the reward. Remember to finish the race well. Christ will give us strength for our very weak knees and let us bless God that we stand in the presence of Christ, who as Andrewes says, hath ever accounted of perseverance, not only as of Regina virtutum, the Queen of virtues, but as of virtus Reginarum, the virtue of a Queen. The Church is the Queen who is called to Remember Lots Wife and to bring us forth, in grace, and to fix our eyes on the One who leads into Zoar, to everlasting praise, comfort and joy, and the true meaning and fulfilment of happiness that we all long after. Perseverance is the Queen of virtues. Jesus calls us to remember that the way is narrow. Andrewes remarks that at the gate of Zoar lies a pillar of stone. Remember Lots Wife!
A Prayer of Penitence from the Preces Privatae of Lancelot Andrewes
O remember what my substance is; that I am: dust and ashes, grass and a flower, flesh and a wind that passeth away, corruption and a worm, like a stranger and a sojourner, dwelling in a house of clay, days few and evil, today and not tomorrow, in the morning and not so long as till evening, now and not presently, in a body of death, in a world of corruption, lying in wickedness. Remember this.
Petition for Mercy
Look upon me and be merciful forsake me not, remember mercy, have mercy upon us and that soon; be not wroth, regard not my sins neither have indignation; forgive, refrain wrath: put off wrath, lay not to charge, impute not, remember not, be not extreme to mark, enter not into judgment, despise not, cast not away from thy presence.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord we ask. Amen.
Jeffrey Steel (formerly a Presbyterian minister) in the PCA),is married with six children (ages 14-3), a postgraduate student at Durham University in England and is prayerfully looking to be received into the C of E as a deacon and then priest within the year. His thesis is titled Eucharist and Ecumenism in the Theology of Lancelot Andrewes: Then and Now. Jeffrey is the owner of the blog meam-commemorationem (My Memorial).
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