The First Week of Lent, Sunday

Pursuing Excellence 

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”Philippians 1:9-11

We are being built into a dwelling place for God. It is very important, therefore, to use the most excellent building materials for both brick and mortar. Saint Paul reminds us in the passage quoted above that love is the key component to binding the building blocks of these walls together. He says that it is his prayer that our “love may abound more and more… so that we may approve what is excellent.” The bricks of these walls must be made of the finest clay, being “pure and blameless…filled with the fruit of righteousness.” And that righteousness can come only through Jesus Christ. Excellence, therefore, is living in right relationship with Jesus Christ “to the glory and praise of God.”

St John talks about the walls of the Temple, but uses a different metaphor. The Temple, that is the Church, is the bride of Christ. St John, in the book of the Revelation, refers to the bride making herself ready. He says, “it is granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” (Rev. 19:8). If we are going to build a temple worthy of our God, we must pursue excellence. We must use the finest building materials: “bright and pure—the righteous deeds of the saints.”

As we begin construction of these walls let us examine what materials we are incorporating into the bricks. Each week we will examine five Christian virtues as described in the Bible. Then on the Saturday of each week we will pause to reflect on those virtues, take a moment for self-examination, and repent for our shortcomings in putting those virtues to practice in our own building process. We can then ask God for the grace to amend our lives that we may come into right relationship with Him.

So, let us pursue excellence that we may be “pure and blameless for the day of Christ,filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

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