It's been a strange few weeks since Easter. Jacob's Well flooded (no, the irony is not lost on us), and the space is unusable for at least a month. My laptop has been broken for a few weeks, which is quite disorienting considering how often I usually use it. I participated in our denominational general assembly and the Regent pastor's conference, so I've been with a whole bunch of pastors and other church-y people, where I have felt both a sense of belonging and a sense of distance and disconnect. Friends are going through difficult times, and it's hard to know how to help, and to be present in the midst of their pain. And what has brought more grief than I would have expected was the death of our pet hedgehog last Sunday, after only a month of having him in our house.
It is still the Easter season, and I am looking for signs of life and hope, a good discipline especially when times are hard. There is life. There is green outside, and inside too, as Kat has been growing all sorts of plants for our garden. I can find things to be thankful for.
But in this generally raw and challenging time, when I feel weak and tired, confession is what flows most easily. I've been trying to write down some confessions, since the same old sins crop up over and over. I thought I'd share one I've been working on and adding to for a while now. Some of the ideas are shamelessly plagiarized from Dorothy Day and Shane Claiborne.
For the times when I am overly impressed with myself,
imagining the biographies that will be written about me,
For the times when I am less gracious with myself than you are,
sinking into the ugly pit of self pity,
(For generally thinking too much about myself,
For the days when you call me to be generous with my time and instead I am stingy,
hiding my laziness behind excuses like "taking care of myself,"
For the days when you call me to rest and be alone and instead I work,
hiding my compulsive "need to be needed" behind excuses like "this can't wait,"
When I let my impatience with the Church in the West harden into bitterness
instead of driving me to prayer and confession,
When I overexaggerate my own poverty,
and when I underestimate the challenges faced by wealthy Christians,
When I overestimate my spiritual strength,
and when I fail to let You shine through my weaknesses and vulnerabilities,
When I say beautiful things about kindness and grace to those on the margins,
but fail to show kindness and grace in my own home,
When I mentally compete with other pastors, non-profits, or communities,
focusing on where we differ rather than on how we fit together in the Body,
When I fail to mourn with those mourn,
but instead find secret reassurance that I'm not the only one with problems,
And above all,
when I lose hope in your kingdom,
when I lack faith in your power to do miraculous things,
(or when I try to dictate what those things should be
and exactly when and how they should happen,)
Teach me to wait in active hope for Your kingdom to transform the world.
Teach me to wait in active hope for Your kingdom to transform me.