Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday: sabbath of the soul

I got this today from Inward/Outward. I think it's rather wonderful.

Humility is not a matter of beating ourselves up.
It is not a question of judging ourselves
as stupid or sinful, as hopeless and bad.
Who are we to judge these things?
Humility, for John [St. John of the Cross],
is the gentle acceptance of that most tender place inside ourselves
that throbs with the pain of separation from the Beloved.
It is that deep knowingness that identification with the false self
brings nothing but further separation.
It is an initially reluctant dropping down
into the emptiness
and an ultimate experience of peace
when we stop doing
and rediscover simple being.
It is the Sabbath of the soul
when we heed the call to cease creating
and remember that we are created.

--Mirabai Starr

Our theme at my church, this Lent, is "Renewed by Floods of Grace." It's from a hymn that we'll be learning and using all season, with a wonderful text by Ruth Duck. She begins

Remember and rejoice, renewed by floods of grace:
we bear the sign of Jesus Christ, that time cannot erase.

I know a lot of people who see Lent as a time in which we beat ourselves up for being hopeless sinners. They got that impression from years of Lenten services that emphasize our sinfulness to the point of creating a distorted view of our relationship with God.

I believe it may be true, as Martin Luther allegedly said on his deathbed, that "We are all beggars." But I think that people need hope even more than they need bread (with the exception of Eucharist, which is both).

Penitence is necessary sometimes, and today's remembrance of the brokenness of our nature and our world is helpful because it locates us in reality. But we need to be careful not to leave people in the dust.

Our location within God's grace is necessary all the time.


Cecilia said...

Oh, AMEN, you!

Be my pastor. Please?

Pax, C.

Crimson Rambler said...

I'm glad you get inward/outward also!

mompriest said...

Have you read Speaking of Sin by Barbara Brown Taylor?

Choralgirl said...

C--you're a dear. :-)

Crimson--I think I found it through you!

Mompriest--nope, but I love her writing. Will look for it!