Wednesday, February 10, 2010

ROBERT : An epiphany on the road to Lent . . .

An epiphany on the road to Lent, the Epiphany Highway, I believe it is called.
It came when I read something a friend of mine wrote about how dense the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the Why-Could-They-Not-Sees must have been to have had three or four twenty minute conversations with the Word made Flesh over three years and not have caught on that Jesus was the Messiah.
It brought to mind how many years I self-righteously wondered how the Pharisees could be so lame as to not get it in the beginning. Now that I think of it, the disciples were not exactly the brightest bulbs in the packet themselves.
On further reflection, I began to come face to face with the fact that after two thousand years of telling the Story to each other, studying the Bible until we are blue in the face, spending our Sabbaths in places where people argue whether Latin or tongues or praise choruses or the 1928 prayer book are the most proper vehicles for worshipping the One Who made us and the One Who came among us, staking out positions theological and political that cover everything from slavery to witch-burning to the Inquisition to the Crusades to celibacy for some and not for others — after two thousand years of such carrying on in the name of righteousness, we are likely to be just as confused, just as afraid, just as uncertain, just as mystified by the Presence of the Christ as were those devout Jewish folks so long ago.
I for one, to quote a character from a parable actually, am not worthy even to lift my hands to heaven. A parable, of course, being a story the One Who came made up to tell folks something about their real selves since they could not bear to hear straight talk about their real selves. I think I may well be, along with some other folks, in a new category of modern religious, the folks known as the Do-Not-Want-To-Sees.

At the very least, it means that I for one am not worthy to pat myself on the back as though I understand this Mystery when another could not.
I am not even worthy to lift my hands toward heaven.


Joanne : The Simple Wife said...

As much as I'd like to leave a profound comment, it is, after all not quite 6 a.m. and I'm still waiting for that second cup of coffee to kick in.

So what I will say is this: That fourth paragraph of yours was one lovely, long compound sentence. Isn't the comma an amazing thing? Especially with a dash thrown in?



P.S. And I'm standing right there with you, having felt self-righteous when thinking of the Pharisees and realizing more and more that I'm much closer to lame and dim than I'd like to admit.

robert benson and ben stroup said...

I have been reading Shelby Foote lately, and find I am now thinking in compound sentences. I also find that I am, as always, grateful you read us and take the time to write.


R. Benson

emily said...

Thanks for this posting. It's always a nice surprise to see an update.

And I agree in the early hours with my rain pants and my work boots on it's a good way to start before the tea kicks in and I'm on site for the day.

I laughed when I read the Epiphany Highway moniker for the season and know that Sarah MK and I will be adopting that phrase in short order.

Loved this sentence -

"A parable, of course, being a story the One Who came made up to tell folks something about their real selves since they could not bear to hear straight talk about their real selves."

I want to be someone who can hear straight talk about myself and who can deliver straight talk to others with LOVE. I need the parable most times though or I wince in response. I love Jesus for this. He didn't mince words a lot and he didn't hang around waiting for people to get it either which I also appreciate. Anyway this is your blog post not mine so I'll get to my last point.

I don't like reading or hearing the phrase "I'm not worthy." From anyone. I don't like reciting it during church, I don't like hearing from friends in conversation, and I cringe reading it here.

Is it my youth? Is 35 too young to understand that? Am I still holding onto something I need to surrender to? I don't know, but the feeling is so strong.

AND somehow "I'm not worthy" feels different than I'm no more worthy than anyone else and I'm privileged to be able to lift my hands to the heavens and the heavens are ready and waiting to receive everyone elses arms too. Thank God for Grace and unconditional Love.

Fran said...

That's quite an indictment of our judgmental attitudes. Passing judgment must be one of our most basic sins—at least for me—and it ties in, I think with pride. None of us is free from the necessity of Lent. We all have so much to repent of.

Christi Krug said...

Robert, thanks for the reminder that we don't have a corner on this righteousness thing, and thanks for reminding me of my intention to speak only good of others... beginning with my thinking.