Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I've been coming at Lent belatedly this year. I remembered Fat Tuesday with pancakes and friends, but I couldn't come up with anything meaningful to "give up" until halfway through the season, and even though I've been going to Wednesday night dinners at New Church since Lent started, I didn't really start interacting with the meaning of it all until about two weeks ago.

Then it really hit, and I've been bombarded with books and thoughts and conversations about sin and Jesus' passion and God's justice and my repentance and what place, if any, guilt has in this and dying to myself so that Jesus can live through me . . . and on and on and on. And I love it.

I think that might qualify me, in many people's estimation, as a weird chick.

I think part of it is that I love paradox. I love the idea of the impossible becoming fact and the dark becoming light and the least becoming great and things not being as they seem and the powers that be being turned out and the world itself being turned upside-down.

Even though I like fantasy novels to a point, I don't think I could get into pantheism like Pagan-Jerry because there's not enough paradox to validate it, or something. I mean, I guess it's something of a paradox to hold that we're all ignorant gods who are secretly all-powerful if we could ever figure it out but in the meantime we're trapped in these little finite bodies making a mess of things. I just don't find that one very satisfying or compelling, maybe. Plus it's the oldest lie in the book. Like seriously:

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil” (Genesis 3.4-5, NLT).

We've been through this before, but that whole thing makes me so mad--that we believed we weren't like God to begin with and decided to try to become like Him without Him. And then we wonder why we aren't more godlike. We believe lying spirits who tell us we are without beginning and end instead of being content to be glorious creatures, capable of bearing the One True God to the rest of creation.

I don't know. Maybe I'm lazy or don't like the responsibility, because even the biblical promises that the children of God will one day reign with Jesus kind of freak me out. But I really don't get what's so great about being god all by myself. Or about my neighbor's being god, either. I don't see that either I or he have enough of a clue to make things better, but I do happen to know the genuine relief and release that comes from confessing to sin. Not confessing to not knowing enough. Not confessing even to "making bad choices," though I suppose that's what it comes down to. But confessing, like the Prodigal Son, "Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your [daughter]." I don't have to maintain the facade of being a secretly perfect being who accidentally mistook something. I don't have to say I don't know why people kill each other.

It's not to say I don't do these things. In the last week I noticed for the first time how much I lie to make myself look better, and here I always thought I was so honest. I'm just saying . . . when I get to the end of myself, I'm really glad there's an end to myself, and that I can get there, and then there's Jesus, who lets me put my sin on Him and then throws it into the depths of the sea.

1 comment:

revjas said...

This is an amazing post, Jenn! Such provocative thoughts and such evocative writing! (Like so many of your other posts, actually!) Wow!