Monday, April 14, 2014
I started writing this on Ash Wednesday - and now it's Holy Week. And I am feeling really ash-y and lent-y and not at all Holy (which I suppose is the point). Yesterday, Palm Sunday, I found it hard to go forward to communion. I usually am able to look at the stained glass image at the altar, of Jesus on the cross, and feel completely washed. Yesterday I felt the shame of sin and guilt and found myself averting my eyes. How could I receive this gift, this grace, this sacrifice. Words swirled through my head, many from songs we've been listening to this Lent season: Rock of Ages, come rescue me. Weak and wounded, weary sinner.
But then, the hope came in the form of some of these songs at Palm Sunday service:
"Jesus paid it all"
"O Sacred Head Now Wounded"
"Come all Ye Pining"
"How Deep the Father's Love for Us"
"Sing to Jesus - Lord of our sinful hearts, He is our great Redeemer"
I'm sure it's no coincidence that during this Holy Week, I'd be grappling with some fierce feelings. And in the background I'm hearing that still, small voice telling me to feel those feelings, to grapple with them . . . and then surrender them, and be changed. Jesus came to save me, yes, and He also came to change me. This week I pray I could seek that surrender, receive that change, choose the thoughts and actions that bring Him glory and honor.
Yes, this is Holy Week. It's not a time to feel holy. It's a time to sink deep, to go low.
It's a time to prepare.
It's a time to look forward - it's Friday . . . but Sunday IS coming. To look forward. To hope. To know that there is a time to mourn, and a time to rejoice.
A couple songs that have been floating around here lately:
The Lord is Gracious and Compassionate
Sing to Jesus
Rock of Ages (not the version you're used to hearing!)
Beautiful, Scandalous Night
I also don't call it coincidence the books that have been put in my path these past 2 months- they all came through at the library at almost the same time, and sprinkling my mornings with pages from each has lent (pun intended) a vibrant flavor to this season.
From Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner:
"So you see that asking people into my life is not so different from asking them into my apartment. Like my apartment, my interior life is never going to be wholly respectable, cleaned up, and gleaming. But that is where I live. In the certitude of God, I ought to be able to risk issuing the occasional invitation."
From Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris:
"I appreciated being led to the discovery that it is through our failings and weaknesses, our 'ways of imperfection,' that we find God, and God finds us, the God who can turn any mess we've made to the good" (talking about lives of Saints)
From My Sisters the Saints (great book), the author is speaking of Saint Edith Stein:
"A woman who follows the natural rhythms of prayer, work and rest will be rewarded with abiding peace . . . 'The surrender to which feminine nature inclines here appropriate; on the other hand, we also find here the absolute love and surrender for which we seek vainly in people'. Genuine spiritual motherhood lies in leading others to freedom, not dependence; in giving, not getting. But a woman cannot give what she does not first possess."
"I thought of how my relationship with my children would be . . . how wonderful it would be if I could be a perfect mother, a completely flawless, selfless nurturer whose loving guidance never erred. Not going to happen . . . there is no such thing as a perfect mother."