Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Matthew 5: 38 - 48

I went to school during the days when children learned grammar ­– things like the declensions of nouns and the conjugation of verbs. So the word ‘perfect’ reminds me that there is a difference between the ‘perfect tense’, and the ‘imperfect tense’ – but I must admit, I can’t remember what the difference is!

However I've looked it up: the perfect tense means that something has been completed, and the imperfect tense indicates a continuing action.

I also understand that one layer of the meaning of ‘sin’ in Jesus’ native Aramaic is the sense of ‘unripeness’.

This passage from Matthew reminds us that what Jesus expects his people to be like seems utterly unreasonable to common sense: ‘there must be no limit to your goodness, as your heavenly father’s goodness knows no bounds.’

We are all called into a fullness and completeness, but we are still a long way off – but by God’s grace, and through the actions of his Holy Spirit, we can grow to be more like him.

I’ve got a t-shirt which says on the front, in big letters: ‘Perfect Man’. Underneath, in small letters, it says ‘under construction’.

God hasn’t finished with any of us yet. We are still far from perfect. But we can respond to the call to completeness by asking for the grace to grow. Perhaps that is something we might like to meditate on, this Lent.