Broken, Exposed, Resurrected: A 12 Step Journey thru Lent – Week 4

New life
Small green shoot growing out of an egg shell filled with soil. Image courtesy of Leopictures courtesy of Pixabay.

In these closing weeks of Lent, ask for liberation from that which holds you captive and keeps you distanced from yourself, God, neighbor, or Creation.


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 If we were to be liberated from our outdated ways of being, what would come next?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.

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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2 thoughts on “Broken, Exposed, Resurrected: A 12 Step Journey thru Lent – Week 4”

  1. Just to follow up: I also suggested, at the close of Sunday’s talk, that folx might try a couple of prayer practices this week, experimenting with two prayers taken directly from 12-Step literature. And–that people could rewrite the language to fit their own concepts of God/Higher Power. The formal, somewhat stilted language can seem a bit off-putting nowadays.

    The two prayers, as originally written in the book “Alcoholics Anonymous”, are:

    Third Step:
    God, I offer myself to Thee, to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me from the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. may I do thy will always. Amen.

    Seventh Step:
    My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.

  2. Doug, thank you for following up with this. I do hope folx will share some of their experiences with these spiritual practices, or others.


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