Today is Tuesday the 18th of March, in the Second Week of Lent.

The Choir of Winchester Cathedral sing the Kyrie from William Byrd’s Mass for 5 Voices. Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison: Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Today’s reading is from the Prophet Isaiah.

Strong words from the prophet Isaiah! Many times we might be feeling that our sins are indeed like scarlet.  No chance of them ever being wiped clean. When have you experienced this feeling?

Often, we look around our world and see horrible things happening, dreadful action that humans carry out against each other … and sometimes it’s even in the name of God, or so they think. Examples are not difficult to draw to mind; counterparts of the oppressed, the widow and the orphan of Isaiah’s day are easy to name in our time, our situation. Sins, whether personal or social, seem to abound. Do you sometimes find all of this disenchanting? Share these feelings with God now.

Sodom and Gomorrah … perhaps when we think of these we immediately think of a problem, an obstacle to God’s love, of bad things and sinfulness. But maybe that’s not quite what’s going on in that prophecy. The solution to the problem is named for Isaiah’s listeners, and for us too. Cease to do evil, learn to do good. Rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. The situation, far from being hopeless, is actually full of possibility, full of hope. It’s up to us to make that decision, and so to eat the good of the land. Listen again to this simple advice.

Cease to do evil, learn to do good. The Spirit of God says this to us, you have a big part to play in putting things right. What are the opportunities in your life, today, where you might cease to do evil and begin to do good? What are the opportunities in your life where you might even encourage others to do the same? Speak to the Lord, in the last few moments of your prayer, about these things.