Lenten Series: The Value & Meaning of Life
My hope and prayer this week is that you and your loved ones are physically well and continue to have what you need to thrive in the midst of the spread of COVID-19.
Last week we looked at the importance of vulnerability in our caregiving—the courage to share our own stories. Since then, we have all seen the importance of protecting the most vulnerable among us by NOT sharing and not being physically present to them. Things can turn on a dime…which brings us to the theme for this week: The Value and Meaning of Life.
Let’s dive in, beginning with the lectionary readings. Some are quite familiar (Psalm 23), and one is the long story of Jesus healing the blind worker. I encourage you to read them all—plus Psalm 22, which literally turns on a dime in verse 19 as the writer moves from the reality of suffering to recall the nearness of God.
It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.
Curt Thompson (Anatomy of the Soul ) writes about Jesus speaking the first line of Psalm 22 (Mt 27:46) at the height of his suffering: “Curiously, what might appear to be a cry of despair is actually an indication of just how much Jesus was paying attention to his father at the height of his suffering.”
What a great reminder for us this week.
In some strange way, it is both the best of times and the worst of times as we come together as communities to protect and serve one another. There are stories all around about people caring for others. It’s a real opportunity to recognize both the work of God within us and His work in the world.
Some questions to ponder...
To what are you paying attention?
What has surprised you about our current situation?
In what way is this ‘the best of times’ for your community?
Where have you found the most meaning in your days this last week or two?
Nouwen reminds us in The Wounded Healer that to be people of faith means to recognize that “every experience holds a new promise, every encounter carries a new insight, and every event brings a new message. But these promises, insights, and messages have to be discovered and made visible.” That’s part of our job as caregivers, to share how God is working in us and around us.
Nouwen also reminds us that in order to do this we must be people of prayer:
For people of prayer are, in the final analysis, people who are able to recognize the face of the Messiah. They are people who make visible what was hidden, who make touchable what was unreachable. …through their articulation of God’s work within themselves they can lead others away from confusion and towards clarification, through their compassion they can guide others out of the closed circuits of in-groups and towards the wider world of humanity; and through their critical contemplation they can convert convulsive destructiveness into creative work for the new world to come.
Seems to me Nouwen is describing exactly what we need now. His words are also a reminder that we can only act like people of prayer in the world if we have done the work of quiet contemplation where we connect to our Source in embodied experience.
So, I want to remind you that the whole purpose of the physical practice portion of yoga (the poses or asana) is to enable us to be still and connect to God—to be people of prayer.
And as we continue to cope with the effects of COVID-19 on all aspects of our lives…
Here’s a great article on how physical action can cure malaise.
A couple of final nuggets mined from the Lectionary readings: Remember that God looks on the heart (1Samuel 16:7) and that our job is to live as children of the Light (Ephesian 5:8).
Sending love and light and blessings to meet all your needs this week,