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Just sit there in the morning sun

by davesandel on June 2nd, 2021

Wednesday, June 2, 2021                   (today’s lectionary)

Just sit there in the morning sun

In Austin’s quiet summer morning, a cardinal sits and eats sunflower seeds. A black squirrel hops along, chewing on discarded popcorn. Inside our Austin apartment we have yet to entertain Sadducees. The conversations that privilege us don’t involve tedious questions and answers so much as honest pondering, praying, and mostly simple, still waiting.

In descending order, James Agee thinks God values being, life, consciousness and human consciousness (p. 252 of the link). The more we overthink, the more we second guess ourselves, the more “self”-conscious we are, the more we prove him right. Human consciousness is not always all it’s cracked up to be. If we aren’t paralyzed by our powerlessness, we are enamored with our wisdom and immediately begin to overreach. If we know what’s good for us, we will not settle for either, but instead spend our lifetimes finding the middle ground.

Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

In order to be transparent, I tell my friend that I am feeling weak. But as I do so, my weakness fades. By being assertive and using an I message, I’m back in control of myself. Of course that’s a good thing, but what happened to my weakness? Where did it disappear to? Did I plunge it under the water and kill it by naming it? Did I just lose something here? At times like this I feel like I’m living in a house of mirrors.

How can I show God my vulnerability without sabotaging the showing? Can I just be weak and not say so? This looks like passivity and can descend into hopelessness. Why even try? This is even tougher with your friend or your husband or your wife. God might know you better than you know yourself, but they don’t.

Your ways, O Lord, make known to me, please teach me your paths.

On the other hand, what has mistakenly (I think) been called the heresy of quietism “holds that perfection consists in quiet of the soul, in the suppression of human effort so that God can do his work in me” (Britannica.com). Be still and know that I am God.

I begin to see how human consciousness fails me. Its limits aren’t obvious until they’ve been breached, and then I notice how I’m drowning in confusion.

When should I be transparent and say how I feel and when should I be vulnerable and keep it to myself? Discernment, Ignatius says, is always between two GOOD things. Neither is wrong. It’s just that I need to decide WHEN and WITH WHOM to be vulnerable and/or transparent.

There are many reasons to pray, and this is one of the best. I can ask God for clarity and healing. I don’t need to decide whether to be both vulnerable and transparent with him. He will never hurt me or leave me. And he will also clarify my errors with no condemnation.

And the prayers were heard in the glorious presence of Almighty God, so Raphael was sent with God’s healing.

Our friend said as she felt the Holy Spirit, she also felt her permission to do nothing, to be simple, to be weak in action and perhaps, thereby, become strong in obedience. This is not our usual American call to action, but it is often God’s. We clamor for control, we crave strength and prosperity and wellness. Not so fast. Why not just let things go along and learn obedience?

Otherwise, despair and triumph simply beat like two out-of-tune cymbals over and over in my life. I want to hear the quiet notes, it is in them that God brings me life. They are always being played, but I won’t hear them if I just keep beating on the bass drum. I won’t even listen for them after awhile, because my mental orchestra brays and blares, brays and blares.

Once again. Be still, and know that I am God.

Want to go with me to the sea? We can just sit there in the morning sun. Sittin’ on the dock of the bay, wastin’ time? Want to go pretty soon?

(Tobit 3, Psalm 25, John 11, Mark 12)

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