Christ Episcopal Church
The Mother Church of The Dakotas
Lent greetings, my dear family in Christ,
The church has a long tradition of asking the faithful (and the not so faithful ) to use Lent’s 40 days as a time of prayer, meditation and reflection…those quiet practices that nurture the spirit. One of my Lenten practices is to participate in the meditation gatherings at The Olde Rectory on Wednesday evenings, beginning at 7 p.m. (all are most welcome!) We’ve been reading Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s book, “The Joy of Living” as a text to help our meditation practice. Some time ago, I read these words:
“If we could see the whole truth of any situation, our only response would be one of compassion.”
I believe this to be true and I think that all of us have had experiences and relationships that as we grew in our understanding (i.e. see more of its truth) such things as loving kindness, forgiveness and compassion deepened as well.
Some of the atrocities that go on in the world, however, greatly challenge our (at least mine, anyway) ability to think compassionately about the perpetrators of such crimes and cruelty. The men of Isis come to mind. And why would three teenage British schoolgirls run away to Syria (it would seem) to join this army of terror? I don’t pretend to know…but I know this…as I watched the television footage of the girls’ mothers and sisters in England pleading and crying for their loved ones to return…I felt compassion. As a human being, I can feel a bit of their deep suffering and sorrow. And then I thought of Jesus’ teaching to “love our enemies.” The love that is compassion that any of us would feel for these mothers and sisters brings us so close to the enemy! And as we bring incomplete but humble understanding of our enemy we begin to think how greatly their suffering must be to do such murderous acts.
Can you and I and those around us help to alleviate such suffering and the violence that flows out of it? Yes, but the practices of Lent remind us that it begins most simply and humbly. We allow quiet time to attend to our own suffering. We reflect and pray about how we hurt ourselves and one another by our fears, jealousies, self-centeredness and our unkind judging of others. Peace and the cessation of suffering in the world, begins with peace and healing in our own hearts…it is the only way.
In Christ’s love and understanding,
Christ Episcopal Church 517 Douglas Avenue Yankton, SD 57078 605.665.2456