Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Lent: I’m Not Much, But I’m All I Think About
This evening I sat in the beautiful Church of the Incarnation and listened to a wise, direct, and very profound sermon by our rector, Bishop Anthony Burton, on preparing for Lent.
In speaking of the temptations that Christ experienced during his forty days in the wilderness — which we symbolically replicate through our observance and celebration of the Lenten season — Bishop Burton clarified them in a way I hadn’t previously understood: Christ, he said, was tempted to become the star of his own show — the centerpiece of his own movie. He refused.
As I sat through the service, surrounded by the majesty of a church I’ve loved for decades, I observed how often my thoughts are centered upon myself. Briefly, I can be fully present within the momentous mystery and magic of what is going on around me, but quickly and automatically, I am back to… assessing myself, critiquing myself, speculating about myself… which then turns in an equally automatic way to quick and sometimes even scornful and petty judgments of people around me.
To quote a friend who has spent decades successfully working twelve-step programs, “I’m not much, but I’m all I think about.”
Referring to the unremitting humility of Jesus and of His unwillingness to become a person of consequence and importance — or, perhaps in today’s parlance, one could say His unwillingness to become “relevant”, the bishop said, “I want that.”
So do I.
Church of the Incarnation incarnation.org