May the Spirit of Love be within us and between us and in these words, Amen.
Here we are more than two weeks into the letting go of Lent and another two weeks into this long, complex, and wounding pandemic. There have been gifts, for sure, and I would not be without them, but this week I am heartily, heartily weary of so much waiting, lack of choice and uncertainty.
We are being asked to dig deep, especially at this stage in the pandemic.
But what are we digging deep for? And how are we doing with that? And can today’s readings – about foolishness and wisdom, and Jesus turning tables in the temple – help with any of this?
Here’s a favourite quote of mine from Cynthia Bourgeault – Wisdom is not knowing more – it is knowing with more of you, knowing deeper.
What a challenge to someone like me who loves to learn, to understand, to know. And what a challenge to all of us in these times when living with ‘not knowing’ is such a hallmark of these days and now to nearly year.
God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom.
The wisdom of living Christ crucified is beyond human understanding.
Let’s go into our own reflective space with one or two questions that might help connect to the wisdom already planted in you.
Wisdom is not knowing more – it is knowing with more of you, knowing deeper.
What ‘tables’ are being turned over in your life? How is it for you to live with ‘not knowing?’ What is your experience of these chaotic days?
When I prayed imaginatively with the temple story, the clatter and shouting and roughness that I saw was too much, ‘no more Jesus’ I said, ‘I can’t do this and I don’t want it’ – and I could see myself hunched up in a corner of the temple trying to shut out the chaos, the emotional demands of life… feeling I had to stay, should stay, but not knowing how I could. I was surprised when Jesus came over and he said ‘leave, its ok, leave’. Jesus gave me the choice to leave that scene, with all my mixed emotions. On this occasion not mine to fix, or even actually engage, quite a surprise not to have to stay. So in my mind’s eye I left the temple and edged outside.
What is Jesus saying to you in your experience?
There’s been a lot of talk of trauma and covid. Being trapped by something out with our control and feeling powerless to do anything about it, the two hallmarks of traumatic experiences – stuckness and powerlessness.
In my experience of overwhelm in the temple/life – Jesus gave me a choice I did not otherwise see. Nothing suddenly changed as I left the temple and I wondered ‘was that it’!? And then outside the temple… Jesus came to be with me. And ‘being with’ is THE thing that changes everything. In overwhelm, in trauma we become separated from ourselves and others – in connection we can be seen and heard and begin to heal. Being with.
What kind of God is here with you?
If we are in one of those places where choice seems non-existent; if digging deep is just not possible any longer at this stage in the pandemic; if we can’t sense the movement we would like, can we sit with ourselves – be with – our sorrow. For trauma and overwhelm requires kindness… so much kindness. Jesus’ kind of kindness.
As the poem The Invitation says:
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
Perhaps this is the greatest wisdom. A ‘sitting with’ that carves us out with a depth that also paradoxically holds us. Carves me out to know with more of me.
What is your response to life at the moment? Talk with Mother God, Father God, Jesus or Spirit about whatever has struck you in these minutes. And allow Kindness to sit with you. To know Kindness and wisdom more deeply.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference. [Reinhold Niebuhr]
A Reflection given to – St James Church Leith
7 March 2021