Saturday, February 27, 2010

Terrified and cannot surrender

Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
And are terrified and cannot surrender
And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks
In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.
--T. S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday

I am struck today by the phrase in the header: the thought of those who are terrified and cannot surrender. This, I believe, is about surrendering to grace. To live in fear - of God, of one's failures, of one's limitations, of one's secret sins, of the world, of oneself - yet not be able to do the one saving thing - letting go - is a terrible place to be.

Will the veiled sister pray not only for those who "merit" her intercessions but also for those who offend her? Is there forgiveness for the sinner? Are there new beginnings for the worst offenders? Fresh starts for those abject in failure? What hope is there for those who know they have affirmed before the world and then, in the rocky place, have denied?

Peter, of course, reminds us that the answer for at least some of this is Yes.

The apple-seed associated (non-biblically) with our fall is withered. It is the Cross that will flower. We must move beyond our guilt and fear. God wants better for us.

--the BB


susankay said...

we have been working with the "living the questions" course. one of the teachers speaks of her idea that the first great sorrow of God was that Adam and Eve were AFRAID of God and that, rather than "the sin", was the big issue of the "Fall" I rather like that. I can understand that if I loved someone passionately (as I understand that God loves humankind) how terrible it would be if that someone was afraid of me. Fear separates us; the Incarnation perhaps was intended to remove that Fear

Paul said...

Excellent comment, Susankay. And "Living the Questions" is a good course - very though provoking, as good courses should be.

Fran said...

All I can say right now is that I have read and read your words, listened to the music and felt the full force of "God wants better for us."

Why is this so hard to do? Terror and surrender are my bookends it seems and I often feel stuck between the poles.

Paul said...

Oh, Fran, dear heart. I am blessed not to be trapped there at the moment but have known the place on more than one occasion.

I think I shall share a dream as a separate post.