The bead for this week is “liberation.” When Jesus gave sight to the man born blind, he was liberated from his inability to literally see the world around him and he was liberated from his status as a beggar. Yet, liberation also has a cost.
Long ago, a therapist asked me what I would be willing to risk or give up in order to recover from my eating disorder. When she asked me this, I had no idea what she was asking, really. It was years later that I realized she was asking me if I was willing to give up the fear that was controlling my life.
Liberation for me meant facing my fears without food and ritualized behaviors to mitigate them. I had to look more closely at all the factors that contributed to my developing an eating disorder. In the first few months of recovery, I felt anything but liberated. The world around me was overwhelming without healthier ways of coping firmly established.
I wonder if this is why church in general is so reluctant to make the changes necessary in order to be a vital part of today’s society. We have become so accustomed to the way church is church that it is almost impossible to imagine another way of being. If we were to be liberated from our outdated ways of being, what would come next?
Scripture doesn’t tell us what happened to the man after Jesus gave him sight. I’m betting he had some rough days, weeks, months, possibly years, before he figured out how to be in the world after he no longer needed to beg for a living. Adjusting to liberation takes time and courage.
The last several days have been a reminder for me to slow down and take my time and rest when I need to. A concussion isn’t exactly the best way to be reminded of the need for stillness, though it is highly effective. I encourage all of you to slow down a bit and invite some stillness into your lives without being hit on the head.
Lent is rapidly drawing to a close. In these last couple of weeks, take time to invite God into the places of fear and reluctance. Ask for liberation from that which holds you captive and keeps you distanced from yourself, God, neighbor, or Creation. Be prepared for a bit of chaos or uncertainty to come after the liberation, or as a part of it. Yet, trust God and community to guide you through.
If nothing else, take a few moments to breathe deeply and observe the subtle signs of spring and new life that are beginning to emerge in the world, and possibly in you. Breathe deeply and know you are loved.
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