Hiding Righteousness in Our Hearts?

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

Psalm 40, 54 (Morning)
Psalm 51 (Evening)
1 Kings 18:20-40
Phil. 3:1-16
Matt. 3:1-12

Hiding Righteousness in Our Hearts?

Our commemoration today in the Great Cloud of Witness is Cyprian of Carthage, a bishop and martyr from the 3rd Century. We know that he was tried and executed for his faith, but what I find interesting is that a few years prior to his death, Cyprian faced persecution on another occasion and chose to flee. He drew criticism for that choice, and defended himself in his writings.

I’ll probably never face a life-or-death trial of faith, but our world is filled with moral questions that my faith compels me one way or another on. I think we would all like to be able to say, as in Psalm 40, “I proclaimed righteousness in the great congregation; behold, I did not restrain my lips.” Do we do that, risking whatever consequences there might be: emotional, physical, social, or economic? Or do we hold back, effectively going into hiding, arguing as Cyprian did that, “whoever abiding in Christ departs for a while does not deny his faith, but waits for the time…” (De Lapsis)

When do we take a stand, and when do we bide our time in the hopes that we can be more effective at another time? If we choose the latter, can we tell if we’re acting out of wisdom or simply fear? Can it be both? If we hesitate now, how will we recognize the right time to speak or act later? I doubt I’ll ever stop asking myself these questions. I hope, with God’s help, I might get better at answering them.

Written by Noah Meeks

Noah has been peripheral to St. Paul’s since 1998. It has influenced his life greatly, especially his decision to join the Episcopal Church in 2010. He spent a semester with missionaries from St. Paul’s in the Dominican Republic in 2002 and participated in the Ark Fellows program in 2013-2014. He completed EfM in 2017, serves as a lector, and is joining the Healing Touch ministry.

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