Wednesday, March 31, 2010

To Run Away

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 -- Wednesday in Holy Week

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 957)
Psalms 55 (morning)       74 (evening)
Lamentations 2:1-10
2 Corinthians 1:23 - 2:11
Mark 12:1-11

NOTE:  Our services today will be at 10:00 a.m. (in the church) and at 6:15 (in the Parish Hall).  We will serve dinner starting at 5:15.

I can remember times when I planned seriously how I would run away from home.  It was during my childhood, and I was miserable.  I would fantasize about living somewhere else where people would be good to me, where I could have some sense of self-determination over my life.  I would start over, and not make the same mistakes that caused me problems now.  I worked through the complications of finding shelter, food, getting from place to place.  All of that was the hard part.  I never came up with a workable plan that didn't involve being dependent upon somebody else, who might make me as miserable as I was now.  So my thoughts of escape usually surrendered to sleep, or else to fantasy, when I simply imagined another life, where I was happy and empowered, and everyone was nice.

From Psalm 55:  "And I said, 'Oh, that I had wings like a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest.  I would flee to a far-off place and make my lodging in the wilderness.  I would hasten to escape from the stormy wind and tempest." 

The psalmist is in a conflict that threatened him from the outside.  (The description sounds like an enemy is conducting a siege against the city walls, but the metaphor works for any kind of external threat, foreign from one's intimates.)  But it is not the attack from the outside that causes him his deepest pain.  He is most bitter about the threat from within.  "Corruption is at the heart" of his situation.  He says he could have handled it if the only threat was enemies and outsiders, "but it was you, someone after my own heart, my companion, my own familiar friend.  We took sweet counsel together and walked with the throng in the house of God."  Personal sabotage and betrayal.  That is his deepest hurt. 

He has no satisfactory resolution within his power.  All he can do is cast his complaint upon God and trust.  "In the evening, in the morning, and at noonday, I will complain and lament, and God will hear my voice.  God will bring me safely back from the battle waged against me, for there are many who fight me." 

This psalm was probably chosen for today because it expresses some of the experience of Jesus during his last days.  He was under threat and duress from many enemies who intended him harm.  But his most anguished threat must have been the betrayal of his own close friend and confidant Judas.  Our gospels remember Jesus' own expressed desire to fly away like a dove and to let this cup pass from him.

Sometimes the only way through things is through them.  Problems are not solved or overcome so much as they are managed and endured.  When we are beyond our depths, when we do not have the power to turn things around and solve them ourselves, we make our complaint to God and we trust.  Then we do the next best thing we can to manage to to endure, leaning on the wisdom, power, and goodness of God when we have nothing.  It takes deep trust to believe that resurrection comes after death when you are in the midst of dying.

Lowell

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Audio podcast: Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week. Click the following link: Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
Morning Reflections is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.


Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at www.missionstclare.com
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

Visit our web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

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