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Perish the Thought!

It means don’t even THINK of it.  Some clearly did then, and some surely do now. 


Read Luke 13:1-3 :

“At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.

You will discover the Jesus who is a step ahead of us whether He reads minds or answers the questions hanging in the air.  A group of Galileans sacrificing in the temple and eighteen seekers of purification in the pool of Siloam had perished on the spot.  The tower in Siloam collapsed and killed those under the common illusion that the very meaning of “tower” implied protective strength.  Pilate had it in for the hapless Galileans for his own sick reason and ordered their murder.

Shocked relatives and readers of the Jerusalem Gazette soon made a beeline for Jesus, “…and He answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered this fate?”   And this: “Or do you suppose that those…on whom the tower…fell and killed them, were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem?”  His twofold answer?  “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

If we crave words of comfort to soften that unexpected shock, let’s stay away from Job’s “comforters” who nailed him for every sin they could think of.  The “blameless” man from the “land of Uz” suffered tragic blows in such cruelly rapid succession that his despairing wife blurted out, “Curse God and die!”  Instead, Job worshiped, clung to His word, and penned his conclusion for the perplexed folk in this present Land of Us.  “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees Thee; therefore, I retract and I repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6).


Ash Wednesday begins a season of fasting for the penitent Christian, but Satan’s feasting didn’t end on Fat Tuesday – Mardi Gras – the grand celebration of carnality.  Lent ushers in the season where he either masquerades as Job’s fault-finding friends or longs to lure us into the crosshairs of his wife’s despair. Perish – cross out – such thinking.  “Let him who has an ear” hear “a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ, have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down…and they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death’” (Rev. 12:10-11).

Vreni Schiess

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