Thursday, April 06, 2006

Lenten reflections (y'all, I'm serious!)

It's about to be holy week and I'm not feeling it. To begin with, I sort of screwed up on the whole Lenten discipline thing.

I have a problem with Lenten disciplines anyway; not because they're difficult to keep, they just don't do anything for me.

First year I gave up chocolate...nothin'. Next year I gave up chocolate and meat...still nothin'. Then chocolate and meat and sex --which, let's face it, was just pretty much giving up chocolate and meat all over again-- and…nothin'. I also tried adding things, doing a service every day and what have you. Nada. Where was the mystery?

My beloved rector made it clear I wasn't the only one who felt like that. Sometimes bread and wine are just bread and wine to him, too. I wonder if that's part of the priest's sacrifice. To lose some of the mystery of The Mystery. If so, I accept that. I don't want to be a priest because I want to feel the mystery all the time, I want to be a priest so I can help everyone feel the mystery once. Sometimes once is all it takes.

My first true realization of Christ's sacrifice came 3 years after I decided I believed in God. It was in the days leading up to holy week in 1998, I was in college, and active in our campus ministry. Four of us from Canterbury went into the sanctuary of our small Episcopal church. I'd never been in a church at night before. The sanctuary was dark except for the cross, illuminated from behind and hanging in front of a red velvet curtain and I got it. All at once. I crumbled and until the labyrinth experience last year, I'd never in my life felt so utterly destroyed. It was wonderful. That was when I felt the calling to ordained ministry.

I sat on the floor, back against the first pew, staring at the cross through my tears. I know for a fact I was sitting next to someone, mere inches away actually, but I felt completely alone with Christ. I felt called just as surely as if I had been in that hidden attic in Jerusalem. Strangely, I feel the sorriest for Judas.

There is something I don't talk about much, and I'm not sure I'm ready to talk about it here. I have a connection, a frightening connection, with the Passion. The psychic pain is almost indescribable and yet, I feel like I am there with Jesus, so it's also beautiful. I don't know how to talk about it, actually. It's as if there are some times when I'm meditating on the Passion that it just feels like someone sucked all the oxygen out of the room. For at least two weeks, I am constantly on the verge of tears, which culminates on Maundy Thursday with a giant sob-fest.

see, I can write a serious post.

This post can't wait 'til Easter


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