Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

I remember that when I was a freshman in college (yes, my chickadees, I can remember some things that far back, when the U.S. had only known the Beatles for about a year), my poor, highly repressed mind could find sexually suggestive overtones in almost any common noun, verb, or preposition. A classmate shared this late adolescent trait with me and our conversations were, well, pathetic.

This phase of my life comes to mind when I re-read the passage from Titus illustrated below:

As I said then, and have often said since: To the pure all things are pure and to the rest of us, well....

This passage led me to think of something other than my period of virginal filth. It made me think of others, more mature in years at least, who still seem incredibly, overwhelmingly sex-obsessed. I refer to the neo-Donatists who find filth (or apostasy) everywhere they turn. I am not going to conclude firmly that it's all projection on their part but, sweet Mother Mary, these people need lives.

Even when I was a young, single, non-celibate gay male living in West Hollywood before HIV came on the scene there was much more to my life than sex. I was praying the Daily Office faithfully from the Holy Cross Breviary (Matins, Diurnum, and Vespers always and often Compline from memory), reading roughly two books a week on theology, pondering the glories of creation in the swelling of buds on trees that I could observe from day to day, thinking about justice and community, leading adult formation programs at the cathedral, and simply trying to survive financially when I was over-educated and under-skilled.

Then when I did give my heart to one person it was the beginning of a relationship that was mostly about everything but sex: companionship, support, challenge, shared interests and values, building community, being there as we grew and struggled, creating a life together. We always intended our home to be a haven of peace, love, joy, and healing for ourselves and everyone who crossed the threshold. For the most part we succeeded and knew our home to be an outpost of the reign of God. As good friends we still experience each other's home as continuing to be that.

I guess we all find - in situations, people, relationships, and events - pretty much what we bring to them.

As we journey through Lent may we grow in purity - by which you all know I don't mean some pathetic, legalistic, smarmy concept - so that we may bring purity of heart and mind with us and thus find purity wherever we go and whomever we meet.

It's kind of like taking Christ with us and thus being able to seek (and find) and serve Christ in all we meet.

Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with your most gracious favor, and further us with your continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in you, we may glorify your holy Name, and finally, by your mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
-the BB


Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Thank you for this!

Jane R said...

It's kind of like taking Christ with us and thus being able to seek (and find) and serve Christ in all we meet.

Thanks for this image.

Love to you for this Lent, and prayers of accompaniment.

it's margaret said...