From the Deacon’s Desk
I belong to a book group that reads a balance of fiction and non-fiction. We have read science, business, history, mystery, and spiritual/religious books. We are currently reading Reel Power: Spiritual Growth Through Film by Marsh Sinetar.
In a section called “Intrinsic Worth,” the author tells a story about a little girl with chickenpox (six years old). When her grandmother went to visit her, she saw that the girl was wearing clothes that covered her whole body: a floor length bathrobe and long blue rubber kitchen gloves on her hands. The grandmother also noticed that the mirrors in the little girl’s bedroom were all covered with newspaper. When the girl noticed how puzzled her grandmother was, she explained, “I don’t like seeing the spots on my hands or face.”
Scripture and many of our hymns speak to our human desire to avoid seeing ourselves as we are – or believing that God will not accept us as we are. Our general confession, part of the Eucharistic service, is preceded by a brief silence, giving us an opportunity to recall those things “we have done or left undone” in the preceding week, the things we would prefer to cover over with long bathrobes and long rubber gloves. Paul tells us that we are being transformed into the image of God. That is Good News. There will be a day, as Paul said, when we will no longer see in a mirror dimly, but will see God face to face.
In the meantime, we do our best to be doers of the Word, not just hearers, who – as James said, are like those who look in a mirror and forget what they look like when they walk away.
Doing God’s work, making God’s kingdom more visible here on earth, requires looking at ourselves honestly, recognizing our part in the systems that perpetuate the problems of violence and poverty that continue to plague us. As they say in Twelve Step programs, we need to take a fearless moral inventory, confess what we have done to God and to each other, and seek to make amends when possible.
Everything in society is not our individual fault, but it will take each of us – individually, as a church body, and as a community, to heal our community.
In 2011, the Church of England published the following prayer:
We pray for peace in our communities this day.
We commit to you all who work for peace and an end to tensions,
And those who work to uphold law and justice.
We pray for an end to fear,
For comfort and support to those who suffer.
For calm in our streets and cities,
That people may go about their lives in safety and peace.
In your mercy, hear our prayer,
Now and always. Amen.