Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Apologies to those who drop into this blog occasionally but do not share my faith persepctive. I have a question aimed largely at the faith community.

How do you feel when you are praying, in company and someone prays something along the lines of, 'We're sorry we are all so lost and inadequate and need to return to you God.' Or 'We cry out to you in tears of loneliness Lord to reveal more of yourself to us.' Stuff like that anyway.

I'm aware of the penitential nature of today and this evening will be trying to help people do something about this with a special alternative act of worship and penitence at Wraxall, including a silent communion. But by and large I don't feel lost, don't feel I've gone anywhere where the Lord can't find me if he wants me and consequently don't feel the need to return.

To repent? Why aye. This Lent a couple of demons will be wrestled. May win on points rather than knock-out. Don't ask. To recommit? Of course. Every day in every way I need to start over. Who doesn't? Today two bits of missing paper will mean I have let two people down. Again and again I return to the filing as the source of so many sins of omission. But I don't feel lost, lonely, inadequate or unfulfilled. So I find that particular 'amen' tricky. How 'bout you?

4 comments:

anna p said...

Hmmm...

Lost, not really. Wish that I could be responsible for getting lost and then finding God again at times....but he always just seems to be around, whether I like it or not.

Lonely, yes at times. Not because I feel God's withdrawn from me in my sinfulness but because I like to keep my distance.

Inadeqate, yes almost always. But I suspect that's everything to do with my pride and nothing to do with God's attitude towards me. Maybe to do with me wanting to be God, actually.....

Unfulfilled, not often. Frustrated with my limitations and those of my circumstances, certainly.

Repentant praying, for me, is usually a re-realisation not of how far away God is from me but of how I've tried to play His role in the world. How I've attempted to replace Him with 'me' things. And of how absolutely impossible and inappropriate that is.

david said...

I can see where you are coming from. Maybe the reserved British character can make us uneasy with overt acts of breast beating and some, probably quite genuine, penitential acts can seem a bit like wallowing in self pity. No, I don’t feel lost, but we are all human and sadly fall short of even our own, yet alone God’s, ideals. Penitence yes, but I view this as a negative which we then need to follow up with positive thoughts and actions – otherwise we can be like children who use “sorry” as a magic spell to obliterate a wrong-doing but then keep on making the same mistake. I am looking forward to how you and Simon handle the service tonight at Wraxall . . .

Caroline said...

I dunno, st, mayby you'd be saying amen for the person praying, almost saying to them "I'm with you as you struggle"

I don't think that you have to own every part of a prayer prayed in public to be able to affirm that person in their prayer.

I guess, however, that the major risk of a corporate repentence is that it may be a tad on the 'horizontal' side e.g. "Lord, repent the manifold trespasses that our associate minister has led us in.. we repent that our sermons have lost their fire...etc. etc."

Caroline Too

Mike Peatman said...

I share your unease, Steve, but also agree with Caroline that sometimes you have to accept that's where that person is at the moment, and support them. After all, we might need them to support us if we ever feel like that.