"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now." Matthew 6:34a
In her comment on my post this morning Magdelene said I was sounding very “Advent-y.” I had to smile at that, because not all that long ago I had found myself wishing out loud on a post somewhere for “another liturgical season.” Again I have to say to myself, “be careful what you ask for…” This does feel “a little Advent-y” but also “a little Lent-y” in that I find I’m feeling a little penitential. Perhaps not so much deservedly but in ways that things get triggered when shoes are falling and I am left waiting for things to happen that are not in my control. When I know my truth in a situation, but also know that my own truth may not be enough to ultimately save me from pelting shoes.
I was reading an interview with Rabbi Phil Miller this morning about the Jewish High Holy Days on Explore Faith. These days include the Days of Repentance, which are the ten days between Rosh Hashanah which was September 30, and Yom Kippur, which is today.
The interviewer asked Rabbi Miller why the High Holy days are so important to the Jewish people and he explained that “it’s because they give individuals and a community an important opportunity for three essential human processes: cheshbon hanefesh—literally taking stock of one’s soul; tshuvah—usually translated as repentance but simply translated as returning to one’s self; and finally, tikkun—or repair.”
This struck me as particularly interesting timing. Taking stock of one’s soul is always a good thing…like taking stock of the pantry. I don’t know if you are anything like me, but I have this habit of “picking up a few cans” of this and that when I go shopping. Those things I think I might have need of sometime….tuna, green beans, tomato soup. I come home and stash them away, not really paying much attention, until the next thing I know….I have ten cans of the stuff. More really than one person could use. But on the other hand, there is no bread. Because I wasn’t paying attention there either this week. So taking stock of the soul. What am I short on? Spiritual disciplines? Contemplative prayer time? My yoga practice? Still on the list of things I mean to get to, alas. What is there a surfeit of? Guilt and shame and critical voices about things that are not mine to claim? Triggered of late by circumstance. I can say a resounding yes to that! So there are things I can let go of, and things I need to find and claim, storing up for the possibility of hard days ahead.
The second part….returning to myself…or Self…I’d like to think that has a lot to do with what God is doing right now…helping me to find that which was lost as well as go deeper into authenticity despite fear. The kind of repentance that does not come with all the baggage of language foisted upon it that makes it a burden and not a blessing.
And I’m hoping and believing that I can see God doing God’s work with and in me in that third part. Helping do the repair, the soulwork, literally of bringing me back home to rest under that wing again, to help me remember who and Whose I am. So perhaps there is a liturgical season here. One I can borrow from the ancestors for a little time apart of reflection, returning and repairing.