Friday, March 20, 2009

4 Lent

Readings are here.

This week's lessons seem to have a theme of being raised up for healing. In the wilderness Moses holds up the image of a snake to heal those who have been bitten by poisonous snakes. The letter to the Ephesians says:
God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-- by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

And in the Gospel, Jesus says:
"Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
"Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."

All of these are not raised up for themselves but for the sake of others. The raising up somehow transforms what might be a terrible thing into a healing thing.

I think how those who have been through suffering and death are more able to walk through these times with others. Henry Nouwen calls them wounded healers. AA and other 12-step programs are example of people having found healing who are able to guide others through the healing process.

Although terrible things should not happen to any of us and we pray that they will not - the example of Christ is one of how suffering can be redemptive. Dorothee Sollee says that our pain can be like a kidney stone - serving no purpose other than hurting. Or it can be like childbirth- bring new life to another.

Some others thoughts on the Serpent on the Pole here and here. Both having to do with the healing and lifegiving power of looking directly at death.

And a poem:

Anaphora
by Nicholas Samaras

Let the path beat me down.
Let the weather and no covering beat me down.
Let the sun be my undoing.
Let Ksenofondos Monastery shrink behind me, until I lose all
bearing.
Let me lose the road to where I lose all hope.
Let this path diverge unto my ruin, and beat me down.
Let all the elements of the earth beat me down.
Let the manuscript of my sins beat me down.
Let God thunder and kingdom come to beat me down.
Let me uncover my shame and give over my life.
Let me repent until repentance breaks me.
Let this path beat me down.
Let me learn the word for water is the same as the word for
forgiveness.
Let the path beat me down, as I lie on its body and give up
everything.
Let me let go of the bag I own, the book, the pen, the dry bottle.
Let me own none of it.
Let me own nothing of myself.
Let the dust of my footsteps be tracked over by the wolves.
Let me die on these rocks, and my body be discovered in days.
Let my hands be found bloody with climbing the scree.
Let the oblique ascension of stars slant over my body.
Let the solemn silence of night be my liturgy.
Let God thunder and beat me down.
Where is the monastic, and where the scribe?
Where is the wise to beat me down?
Let the path beat me down.
Let the path lead me to my other self.
Let the smell of water waken what I walked for.
Let my face be transformed.
Let my face be transfigured from my life.
Let the world be beaten down as I wobble up again.
Let me go back to my family changed.
Let the path beat me down.
Let this path beat me down.
Let the path break me as I come,
to be this broken, this blessed.

2 comments:

Lindy said...

Thank you Ann.
A hard teaching.

sue said...
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