"An adequate life . . . might be described as a life which has grasped intuitively the nature of all things, and has seen and refocused itself to this whole. An inadequate life is one that lacks this adjustment to the whole nature of things—hence its twisted perspective, its partiality, its confusion."
Douglas V. Steere, describing the life of Thomas R. Kelly, in A Testament of Devotion.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
In the last School of the Spirit residency, our core teacher Patty walked us through the steps of lectio divina: lectio (reading and listening), meditatio (meditating, ruminating, and pondering), oratio (conscious response) and contemplatio (contemplation, resting in God).
To get us started, she had volunteers read Psalm 15 and Psalm 130 aloud, in two different translations. She invited us to listen deeply to the words, thinking around them, to see what arose for us. The verse that jumped out for me was the beginning of Psalm 15:1,
Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
The first word that caught my attention was "sanctuary." I thought about how a sanctuary is a place of peace and refuge. The image that came to my mind was of the sanctuary at Plymouth Church, across the street from where I work. It is a lovely place, filled with light, and the people who work at Plymouth are always willing to open the doors to the sanctuary if I want to go in to pray.
Then I started to think about the word "dwell." This verse reflects the writer's longing to dwell in God's sanctuary. The Psalm goes on to list the things a person can do to stay with God, but I find the answer to this question in Psalm 23:6,
I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Things we choose to do may bring us closer to God, but really it is grace that allows us to dwell in the house of the Lord, in God's sanctuary, forever.
Last year, I wrote about going to an Ash Wednesday service at Plymouth Church and feeling led to not put ashes on my forehead. I did the same thing this year. I also have not given anything up for Lent. Despite the lack of outward signs, I have found myself appreciating Lent more this year than I ever have before.
Lent is a time when the church acknowledges how long and dark the winter can be. There is space in Lent for us to cry out and share our longing for God. But even when God seems impossibly distant and it feels like we are spending these 40 days in the desert, Lent holds the promise that the Living Christ will come to us again―in Easter, in spring, and in unexpected ways throughout our lives.