Dear Cathedral Family,
As we move closer to Lent (and, of course, closer to Easter), our Sunday readings from scripture address some of ways that our lives might be amended to bring us back into the Way we follow as disciples.
This Sunday’s readings consider love, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation as core values of life in God’s household. Joseph models these in his encounter with his brothers in Egypt. Jesus teaches clearly about them in Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain. Our psalm offers some memorable advice.
Psalm 37.9 has come to my mind often in recent times: “Refrain from anger, leave rage alone; do not fret yourself; it only leads to evil.” So much of what we encounter in our daily experience in the world—both in person with others and online—is skewed toward anger. Our sinful nature is drawn to it, and once we succumb, we lose ourselves—and our awareness of God’s presence. It destroys relationships, distorts our perceptions of others, and draws us away from the love of God. Pause for a moment and think of how many times in the day you feel anger rising inside you because of something you have heard or seen or encountered. We like to think of this as “righteous indignation,” but it is really, simply, anger.
The Psalmist offers a remedy: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…. Commit your way to the Lord and put your trust in him.” We are all familiar with the advice to take a breath and pause when anger rises, but in our spiritual tradition there is also a practice that can strengthen our anger-resistance muscles—regular, daily, meditative prayer in which we simply sit in God’s presence and open ourselves to God’s love and mercy that live in us.
For the next two weeks, I invite you to consider what your Lenten disciplines will be. How can you build regular time of stillness and openness to God into each day? It might be in the morning quiet, or in exercise outside, or in a time of reflection at the end of each day. You might even give some new practices a try in the days ahead.