He hath regarded the prayer of the humble, and hath not despised their supplication.
~ Psalm 102
I'm very grateful for the number of kind wishes I've received regarding my last post. This aging melancholic thanks you, friends.
Walking the path of this season--in life, in Eugene, in Great Lent--tenderizes the heart and offers banquets for the soul. Not that I partake as I should. I get distracted every day. I gripe at the cat when it seems he gripes at me. I neglect Tim. Frustrated at not getting enough done, I then accomplish more and think I'm really something. Bleh.
These sorts of things, though, these struggles within myself, are what this season is meant to highlight. Not so I'll despair over breaking the rules of a moral system. The value of fasting during Lent arrives amid the striving to do what God did, or at least to follow the path of that continual doing, for the benefit of humankind (of which I am one unrepeatable aspect, piece, and movement).
The Orthodox believe Jesus Christ fasted at the beginning of his ministry as an example for us with many facets. One of these is that Christ's fast illustrates Adam's "fast" in the garden of Delight, in Eden. Adam and Eve, humankind together, were present with God, and this was amazing. Food was not a worry; it was a given, and yet eating didn't occupy a position of pleasure-seeking desire. Being with God was enough. But Eve and Adam broke the fast. They listened to a serpent speaking words from another being, who also broke the fast, discarding the delight of interaction, of communion with God. To so discard and reject ultimately brings identity's dissolution.
Completing the fast of 40 days was one of many ways Christ reversed the destructive event in the garden. He resisted temptation. He restored interaction with God, unblocking the path to healing for every mote of created reality. Following along that healing path is everything, is true life. And it's what I disregard daily. Great Lent gives me space to see this and to mourn, to repent. But also it illumines, yet again, in new ways, the fruit of mourning, which is a request, a call, a lowly movement recognizing I cannot save (cleanse, heal, complete) myself.
I've come to believe the lowly, humble movement is the touchstone for genuine interpretation of any faith tradition. Humility sums up what got written by Israelites and Christians alike, in their amazement at being given space to see, to mourn: "I am a sinful man!" and then gratefully to arise and follow the most humble Rescuer, who truly gives what is enough.