COLLECT OF THE WEEK
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. - Book of Common Prayer, p. 218
John 7 reminds us that disagreement and division about Jesus often ruled the day. Many people were truly amazed at Jesus’ words and teaching, and some were even convinced that He was the Christ.
However, the Pharisees wanted none of that and had already rushed to judgment and wanted Him arrested and killed. Nicodemus, a Pharisee, took a brave stance and spoke up to say: “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?”
Nicodemus’ “innocent until proven guilty” approach is one that mirrors one of the fundamental underpinnings of our law and society today. There is something innately right about an open mind and a fair hearing – about not rushing to judgment. It is in the space created by such an approach that truth can find a berth; that kindness, forgiveness and mercy can grow and operate – Jesus Himself set the standard when He said that He didn’t come to (rush to) judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17). This Lent, we may ask ourselves: have I given Jesus an open mind and a fair hearing? And, following His way of mercy, do I act toward others in way that make space for truth, kindness, and forgiveness?