Lenten Reflection for April 2

Today’s Readings
Psalm 31:9–16
1 Samuel 16:11–13
Philippians 1:1–11

Patrick’s Reflection: An Undesired Vulnerability

I found out about myself this morning while reading Richard Rohr’s daily meditation. Speaking of our current worldwide situation, he observes:

For many of us, this may be the first time in our lives that we have felt so little control over our own destiny and the destiny of those we love. This lack of control initially feels like a loss, a humiliation, a stepping backward, an undesired vulnerability. However, recognizing our lack of control is a universal starting point for a serious spiritual walk towards wisdom and truth.

This describes the condition I find myself in, and what I’ve heard is so hard about these days for many of you. It’s not complicated. We are simply used to being in control of our destiny and our schedule. While normal life brings moments of unexpected changes, we are still usually equipped to deal with them and those moments pass. This feels different.

The reality is, as hard as it is for me to admit, that feeling of being in control of my own destiny was an illusion to begin with. Whatever control I had was largely due to the way society meters out privilege and power to certain groups over others. It’s not from a place of God-ordained lasting truth, despite the tendency of us in power to think so. The opportunity of this season, therefore, is to tap into the eternal truth within this new reality that is in front of us every day. We were never in control. As Pastor Anne said yesterday, “I can’t carry this procession by myself, but neither can you. It turns out, we never could.”

What an opportunity this undesired vulnerability offers. As we move toward the Easter celebration, and eventually to a return of our normal lives, may we never forget this unusual Lenten season when the gift of God’s provision, and not our own power, was our only hope.