Some observations and reflections of a United Methodist pastor during the Lenten journey.
And yes…I get the irony of reflecting and judging…it’s never lost on me.
In a community that proclaims there is a Light brighter than any darkness that exists in the world, there remains a culture a secrets. I am no stranger to its perpetuation and continuation.
We cannot talk about ourselves – the selves Jesus knows and loves – our bare and naked souls – because others are always watching, always listening. And yes, some of them take notes.
We cannot even whisper about the God-felt plans and dreams we have for our flock because it may upset those who have power.
We cannot dare to mention the call change, for there are sheep for which we care that will become unsettled and move themselves to another community.
Good as we are at keeping secrets, we breed a herd that knows all too well how to keep the lid upon the Spirit. The flock that we serve often hid their own selves away in their lives, their families, their busy-ness. The leaders who stand both beside and above us in this mixed up world of pastor/supervisor dare not speak of their plans as well, but cloak them – just like me – in nuanced words and Sacred Secrets.
Why do we, the people of the Light of the universe persist in living so much of our faith life in secret? In a word – scared.
That’s who we really are so much of the time – scared, sacred secret keeps. So sacred, we ignore the nightmare that is us, we, me and I as well as the daybreak open sharing would bring and force ourselves back into the safety of that which we know best and can control…back into the darkness…back to sleep. Scared People.
As I travel through this Lenten season I think of myself, those I serve, and those who lead me and I see us all as the scared, sacred secret keepers that we are. And I pray. And I remember.
There is one who faced a terrible death. His life would be viewed as wasted. His dreams for people would be seen as undermining authority. His hopes for those around him – all of those around him – would be viewed as revolutionary. And he knew he would die.
And yet…he did not keep this future a secret from those who followed. He spoke freely of the future that awaited him. He would be handed over. They would scatter. He would be tried. They would betray. He would be beaten, pierced and rejected at his death.
But he would come back. He would return. He would stand before us all with scarred wrists, feet and side. He would offer us Scarred Hope.
With the One that we follow, there are no Sacred Secrets. He chose not be a Scared Person. He comes even now to offer us Scarred Hope.
“Sleeper awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Ephesians 5:14 NRSVA