Saturday, February 20, 2010

Behold, I make all things new: a retrospective on clean week

Saturday, a remembrance of those dead, returned to the dust of the earth, a reminder to each of us that we must all face death and final judgement.

We stand in the bitter cold,
as incense drifts across the cemetery
sweet fragrance offered to God,
our prayers a gentle, cool breeze
blown through hades,
comforting for a brief moment those who have turned their backs on Him in this world.

Later that day, joy, white, all is light as a precious child is baptized into faith. Immersed in water, made new, washed of all corruption and clothed in righteousness.

"For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."

A last gluttonous enjoyment, the body made heavy.

"Let us all make haste to humble the flesh by abstinence, as we set out upon the God-given course of the holy Fast; and with prayers and tears let us seek our Lord and Saviour. Laying aside all memories of evil, let us cry aloud; We have sinned against Thee, Christ our King; save us"

The church, dark once again, heads bowed.
Changing the cloths,
the constant visual reminder of what season we are in. Bright, beautiful blue, the color of our Mother, traded out for the deep purple stain of Lent, the stain of our sins.

White snow falls in the dark night. Have mercy on me a sinner. Asking forgiveness, from loved ones, and ones I have only just met. Those I have hurt, those who have hurt me. Cleansing my heart of the hurts, letting them go, not holding on.

"And now, having no further care for the sins which thou hast declared, depart in peace."

Cleaning the house, I scrub away dirt from the floors, wishing it were that easy to scrub out my heart. Each room receives a thorough inspection, a critical eye, searching out the unneeded, the clutter, the stuff; the stuff that accumulates, the impulse purchase, the toys, the outfit I just had to have. It is hard to let go. It is hard to give up things, they are "mine." Yet, they are not mine, nothing is mine. Now it all fills the back of the car, waiting to be taken away, shared with someone who needs it far more than I, letting it go, not holding on to things. Father arrives for the house blessing, spraying life giving water into every room, every corner, every dark and messy place, asking that it be blessed and put to proper use. We open each door, revealing the dirty and disorganized.

Going to confession, opening the heart to God and priest, revealing the dark, the dirty, the cluttered. Letting them go is hard, I want to hold on to my sins, I want to keep my selfish behaviours, I want to feel justified in my anger.

Lord have mercy on me.

Standing in church, listening, sometimes even hearing, the words of the Canon - Lord have mercy on me - as one friend put it, I am 'emotionally raw'.

"I have discoloured Thine image and broken Thy commandment. All my beauty is destroyed and my lamp is quenched by the passions, O Savior. But take pity on me, as David sings, and 'restore to me Thy joy'. "

The fast begins to wear on all. We are cranky. We are tired. I am overwhelmed. "The time of pruning has arrived." " I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing." I can do nothing. Receive me today, O Lord, as a communicant. The Eucharist is new life, new strength. Breaking bread together with friends, those who have been on the same journey this week. Those who have asked my forgiveness. Those who I humbly ask to forgive. And in joy we eat, as all is forgiven. The load lightens, as the clutter is taken away, the physical clutter has been dropped off, the emotional clutter begins to calm, the clutter of the heart forgiven and washed away.
It is a beginning.
Behold, I make all things new.
Revelations 21:5


Anonymous said...

Wow. Absolutely beautiful. Such poignant reflections. Thank you, thank you, thank you. To God be the glory.

Michael Hyatt said...

I agree with Gail: absolutely beautiful. Thanks for putting words to our experience.

Michelle M. said...

What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing all those lovely photos.

Anna said...

thanks for the kind words :)

Alicia said...

Beautiful! Just beautiful! Thank you friend :-)