Spiritual Practices: Easter 2020
Introduction ~ Sometimes when we are overwhelmed and none of our usual calming strategies are working, there is only one recourse: to acknowledge the fear and the pain. From the beginning of creation, lament has been one way of communicating with God when we feel overwhelmed by chaos, when we are suffering, fearful, or in pain. A lament can be an expression of personal suffering; however, many laments in scripture are laments that address communal, collective suffering. Laments are artistic, poetic writings that express deep sorrow, grief, a sense of loss or regret. Lament is an honest expression that is not rescued with reminders that everything is going to be ok. Many of the laments in scripture do not end with hopeful messages, but they do remind us that God is with us. God is not an ambulance driver. God enters into the chaos and suffering alongside us, even if we can’t feel God’s presence, even if things don’t make sense. We hold on to God’s promised presence and trust God’s providence.
Scripture ~ The most embodied lament in scripture is from Jesus on the cross when he quotes from Psalm 22, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
Pause for a moment and try to imagine the pain he must have been in, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Yoga educators are studying the ways in which emotional, physical and spiritual pain can reside in the body through body memory. The studies on trauma-informed yoga affirm that part of the healing process is to acknowledge the pain, reframe the response, and create a new narrative. Healing begins by acknowledging one’s pain.
Breath Prayer ~ Inhale – all is, Exhale – as is…
Poetry ~ Our poem today is by Kahlil Gibran, author of The Prophet. Gibran was a Maronite Christian, heavily influenced by Islamic teachings, specifically Sufi mysticism.
And a woman spoke, saying, Tell us of Pain.
And he said:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen,
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.