Monday, February 25, 2008

in the nick of time

As I mentioned yesterday, the sermon touched on the theme that change for the sake of change is not necessarily such a grand idea. It was explored in the larger context of the difference between change from and change for. As our preacher was speaking, I made one of my tangential parallels between that and another concept: Be careful what you ask for, little girl.

You might think these have little in common. However, the first lesson (Exodus 17: 1-7) about the Hebrews serving God as the oppressed in Egypt versus serving God as free men in the barren wasteland, was not lost on me. In Egypt, Pharaoh was the oppressor and God the savior. In the desert, they forgot. (How convenient.) Just as I forgot that I knelt before God a couple of months ago and said "use me." (Be careful what you ask for, little girl.)

Because of course what I meant was use me, but don't let me feel used. Put me to service but I'll pick and choose the ones I serve.

The collect for the third week in Lent begins: Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves; keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul... That pretty much covers last week.

Adversities happen. Evil thoughts assault and hurt the soul. And yet again, I am brought up short by the understanding that I have no power in myself to help myself.

The assaults in my case were the judgmental thoughts, comparisons in my heart about what was fair and unfair, about who was really sick and who was maybe taking advantage. For me it's always intertwined, this connection between body and mind... when my body suffers and has little strength, then my capacity for charity is wiped out as well. That prayer didn't come any too soon... just in the nick of time, in fact.

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