All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful. Flannery O’Connor
I have been looking for evidence of Grace this Lent, finding it tucked away in many of my quotidian tasks, but I never getting too far away from the grief and pain of the world as we are living it now. I have been deeply grateful for the Grace that keeps pouring out, even as I grieve for the places where Grace has not seemed to break through.
Here is my Lenten Lament:
- I grieve for the many in this world, in my world, who are suffering with so many wounds, hurts and slights–for the lonely, for the unchosen, for the hungry and cold, for the disillusioned, for the betrayed…and I realize that the list of sufferings in this world are endless. I grieve that this is so!
- I grieve for the deep rooted fear, and hate and cruelty that seem so public, so persistent, so pernicious, and I wonder how it gets so deep hardwired a person, in a culture, and pray that it be taken away.
- I grieve for the persons so uprooted, displaced and undone by war, by lies, by collapse, by disease.
- I grieve for the uneven allocation of resources in this world, where so few have so much, and so many have so little; I lament my participation in systems that perpetuate this inequity.
- I grieve for the pain that persists–in body, in mind, in soul, in relationships, and lament the diminishment of spirit that accompanies that pain.
- I lament the sins of ancestors–my own and others–who have perpetuated racism, sexism, elitism, exceptionalism, and all other forms of exclusion, dehumanization and oppression, and I pray that I will call out, repent, change my own attitude and behaviors to be more Christlike–healing, including, compassionate, and far reaching.
As I write and pray, I realize that this prayer could go on without end, and maybe it should become a constant part of my prayer practice. Walter Brueggemann calls me to what he calls ‘this prophetic task” to counter our denial and to acknowledge our real losses, both for our connection to God’s world, and to clear the way for Hope to come again. In this second half of Lent, Anne Lamott reminds me that “Grace bats last!” but it does come again. Thanks be to God!