Thursday, February 26, 2009

Friday after Ash Wednesday

I enjoy and admire what Margaret rather consistently does in her reflections on lessons from the Daily Office.

As I resume my discipline of reflecting on the lessons I promptly come upon those for two days after the beginning of Lent and boom: I find them rather oppressive and uninspiring. I am well aware that the strain of Deuteronomic theology (obey and be blessed; disobey and be cursed) is itself frequently critiqued within the Bible itself. Things are not that simple and there are many reasons to consider it crappy theology (though Deuteronomy also has exalted and life-giving passages).

Well, there you have it. There are times when we don't find ourselves inspired. Perhaps our stony hearts need God's sledgehammer or maybe we just need to let go of our desire to be inspired and inspiring. There are desert periods in our lives and desert moments in our days. It's only a big deal if we make it into a big deal.

I choose not to make it into a big deal.

And I'm glad I'm not preaching at Morning or Evening Prayer this particular Friday.

I turn to Psalm 31 that has a verse I have long loved:

I have known periods in my life when I felt hemmed in, besieged, hopeless - and in those periods I have experienced God's grace.

So I will simply go for that and invite any who wish to share their tales of the wonders of God's love in their own besieged cities.

Gratuitous photo taken on the UNM campus Monday night while walking to Russian class. One may worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness AND in the holiness of beauty.

Support us, O Lord, with your gracious favor through the fast we have begun; that as we observe it by bodily self-denial, so we may fulfill it with inner sincerity of heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

--the BB


it's margaret said...

Paul, in our besieged city, there is a wonderful place called Richmond Hill ( --sorry, I do not yet know how to do live links in a comment!

Anyway, some RC nuns took on the vocation of praying for Richmond after it was burned to the ground during the Civil War. About 15 years ago, the RC Bishop called the nuns to a different vocation.

An Episcopal priest felt moved to continue the vocation of praying for Richmond, and now an ecumenical Christian community inhabits (yes, lives together in) the old place and prays for the community day and night...

And it is a wonderful thing!

Paul said...

Margaret, what a truly wonderful and inspiring story. Blessings on their holy work!