Good morning everyone!
Today we have another guest blogger! My friend SL Sayles and I met at the Wild Goose Festival when it came west a few years ago. She is a creative soul and one that I know I can learn a lot from. Enjoy her words!!
(BTW….if you would like to guest blog…I would love to host you! Let me know. Both Susan and SL were inspired by something in the world and wrote about it. They sent it to me and I am happy to use…just sayin…)
Yep, I’m that gal. The one who used to be at the church every time the doors were open. The one called to ministry at a young age, who served as a worship leader and pastor, rising through the ranks of the choir and praise team to full, paid positions.
I’m that believer. The one who always asked questions and huffed at the non-answers, but soldiered on because she believed that eventually someone, somewhere, in some tradition would have a real answer. The one who began to understand that we’re all just winging it, and that unimpeded “certainty” is just another word for doubt; doubt wearing a mask and talking loud.
I’m that woman. The one who went back to grad school “late in life” and was finally ready to hear that the Bible really could be read as literature without losing any of its power. The one whose always overblown sense of justice suddenly had a vocabulary for all that was wrong with the world and the church and, well, the rest of it.
And now I’m that heretic. The one who has chosen to be outside of community because she can’t abide the group think and the empty posturing, the saying with no doing, the scads and scads of member programs where not one believer feeds the hungry or helps the homeless or comforts the widow or orphan.
So what could a heretic like me want with Lent?
From this rarified outer air…I have to admit that I have never truly come to feel like an outsider to the church (or Church, as you would have it) at all. I am still friends with my believing friends, even the ones from whom I’ve (religiously) separated as far as the east is from the west. I watch their debates and read their blogs, I participate in some of their christian events, even lead workshops on occasion, and continue to claim theistic belief in spite of the heretic label given to me very generously by a church at which I was once paid to lead worship.
But you see, I grew up in a non-liturgical tradition, and so the idea of Lent was always rather foreign to me. It seemed more pagan than christian (please blame my tradition for that view, not me). It was outside of the realm of things good evangelical girls did. And of course my Catholic friends did nothing but gripe about it when the Lenten season was upon them, so it didn’t seem to have value even for those who celebrated it.
So now, in this place of non-communion, where I refuse and contradict and reject the teachings of men on the subjects of God, I am finding myself in need of something to reconnect me to that call, the one I’ve had since childhood, the one that has never left me even as I have left it.
I am the first to admit I don’t fully comprehend Lent, its purpose or meaning, but I understand the need for sacrificial connection to the Instigator of my call. I am starting small, with an unspiritual sacrifice–I’m not dealing with a sin or a gluttony in my life, I’m not removing something. In fact, I’m adding something, a physical practice which I think will make me a better person. Something I hope to improve into habit. Something which will allow me to better make my home available for whatever might be next in my call. I am committing to at least one act of housekeeping every day.
Because I am NOT that woman whose home can be visited on a whim. I do not keep the dishes washed or the clothes picked up, I do not sweep and mop every week or clean every counter or dust (heavens, I live in the desert, why would I dust?). My slobbishness has devolved into chaos, and that chaos seems to have invaded my soul.
So I will clean, and probably curse this stupid idea, and probably try to quit and I might even slack off because I hate keeping house. And I will need the impromptu community of friends whose posts I read and whose blogs I lurk to keep me on the path.
And maybe next year, when the Easter season hits, I’ll participate in Lent again; maybe I won’t. But maybe I’ll be finding a new way to answer my call in my clean-and-ready house because I chose to make it my Lenten priority this year. One good thing I brought from my evangelical tradition, and to which I cling today, is the idea that God really does want us to be “faithful in small things”, because it prepares us for responsibility in larger things. My cleaning sacrifice may seem foolish to you, but it will be momentous for me–an opportunity to practice something I loathe in an attitude of appreciation and praise, in a spirit of connecting to my God, in the small space and time which the liturgical tradition has devised for a living reflection of the obedient life our faith should naturally create within us.
Peace be with you.