As we start our week, here’s a light-hearted look at our lives before God:
There was an Italian painter named Bruno who was very interested in making money when he could, so he often thinned down his paint to make it go further.
Bruno got away with this for some time, but eventually the Local Church decided to do a big restoration job, so Bruno put in a bid, and, because his price was so low, he got the job.
So he set about erecting the scaffolding and buying the paint and, yes, I am sorry to say, thinning it down with turpentine.
Well, Bruno was up on the scaffolding, painting away, the job nearly completed, when suddenly there was a horrendous clap of thunder, the sky opened, and the rain poured down washing the thinned paint from all over the church and knocking Bruno clear off the scaffold to land on the lawn by the puddles of the thinned and useless paint.
Bruno was no fool…
He knew this was a judgment from the Almighty,
So he got down on his knees and cried:
“Oh, God, Oh God, please forgive me;
I will do anything to make things right with you, what do you want me to do?”
And from the thunder, a mighty voice spoke.
And thin no more!”
Sometimes it takes a circumstance to wake us up to our sin. Sometimes, it takes the courage of a dear friend to waken us from our denial of wrong-doing. Whatever shakes us to recognize the reality of our sinfulness, Jesus has a response for us.
The Lenten Season of the Church liturgical calendar always begins with the signing of our foreheads with ashes while remembering that our life here is temporal (“Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return.” – Genesis 3:19). Alternate words used on Ash Wednesday are, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Being marked with ashes is a sign of turning back to God; a sign of wanting to again be close to Him…a desire to repent from those things that act as a barrier between us and God.
The spin in the story above plays off In the Gospel of John. A woman is caught in adultery, and brought before Jesus to be judged. She can no more deny her sin than the painter above can hide his deceit. Not long after Jesus tells the crowd to let the one without sin cast the first stone, he finds himself alone with only the woman on the ground at his feet (John 8:10-11).
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, (the idea of ‘repent’) from now on do not sin any more.”
This message is for all of us. May we reclaim our lenten desire of repentance as we conclude the Church calendar year, and find ourselves equally embraced by the Lord. Let us too, “Repent, and sin no more.”