They say it’s supposed to reach a balmy sixty-five degrees later this week. It’s hard to believe since this time last week we were counting down the hours to The Biggest Snowfall in Ten Years here in North Carolina. But I do believe them because that tends to be how it is here which is why it’s such a nice place to live. Winter comes long enough to make a snowman but doesn’t stay long enough for you to turn into one.
I need the winter, the blanket of cold, the hush of nature. I need the reminder that new life comes when the old life dies.
Last week in church, we prayed a prayer during our time of corporate confession of sin. I apologize I don’t have the reference to tell you who wrote it – when I get it, I’ll let you know. Here is the last part of that prayer:
“Empty us of the disguises and lies in which we hide ourselves from other people and from our responsibility for our neighbors and the world.
Hollow out in us a space that you can fill with our transformed selves: peace, a whole heart, a forgiving spirit, holiness, and laughter.
Fill us with Yourself, we pray, for your sake, and the sake of the world.”
Guess what doesn’t happen fast? The hollowing out.
Following this corporate confession, we sit for a time of silent confession, not a begging of forgiveness but a time to embrace the forgiveness that is already ours in Christ. I look forward to these few moments every week, moments of personal reflection in the midst of a room filled with people. And after the silence, we stand to move towards others for a few moments, a passing of the peace.
Every week without fail, I have to gather myself before meeting those around me. To turn from facing my sin to facing my neighbor is a difficult transition and I always wish they would give us more time between silent confession and communing with others.
But that’s the point, isn’t it? Move toward others even as Christ moves within you. I am asked, invited really, to move toward others in my weakness, not in my strength. Though I’ve always believed this to be true, it is not easy or comfortable to practice. These few moments in church are a whisper compared to living it out in my life. But it’s a rhythm I am beginning to embrace more now than ever before.
On this February Monday, I’m thinking of us, the Church. As we face those places in our souls that are frozen, I pray those hard spots would begin to thaw in the presence of Christ. May we not try to mop up the water that comes from the melting but may we offer it to somehow quench the thirst of those around us.
As I reflect on offering my weakness as a gift, I also consider what it looks like to do the same with my work. This week I’m sharing a couple of daily reflections for The High Calling. The first is called The Art of Your Work and the second will be published at the end of the week.
What is something you believe to be true and right but have difficulty practicing in your daily life?