A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Many people on Sunday mornings like to go to Happy Church: a place of upbeat music, warm smiles, and comforting messages.

Some people on Sunday mornings like to go to Stringent Church: a place of austere pleasures, black-and-white teaching, and righteous indignation.

Wherever we go on Sunday mornings, however, what we should be seeking are not happy feelings or rigid viewpoints for their own sake: what we should be seeking is reality – the reality of faith, the reality of God and the reality of life.

Clarity, right order, joy, and comfort are all wonderful things that we should seek in our shared life of faith, but we must also go deeper, for we will not always be able to take refuge in happy music or hide behind syllogistic theology (not that there's anything wrong with these things).

Sorrow, tragedy, guilt, and abandonment are things that we inevitably encounter in our shared lives of faith, to one degree or another.

We see this in the news, as dead children are carried by the dozens out of dusty rubble. We see this in history as millions of devout people blessed by God are exterminated like vermin. We hear it also in today's reading (Jeremiah 14:17-22) as a devout prophet grapples with the greatest of heartbreak.

Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day,
and let them not cease:
for the virgin daughter of my people
is broken with a great breach,
with a very grievous blow.

If I go forth into the field,
then behold the slain with the sword!
and if I enter into the city,
then behold them that are sick with famine!

Yea, both the prophet and the priest
go about into a land that they know not.

Hast thou utterly rejected Judah?
Hath thy soul loathed Zion?

Why hast thou smitten us,
and there is no healing for us?

We looked for peace,
and there is no good;
and for the time of healing,
and behold trouble!

We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness,
and the iniquity of our fathers:
for we have sinned against thee.

Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake,
do not disgrace the throne of thy glory:
break not thy covenant with us.

As Christians, we should not be afraid of wrestling with the painful and messy realities of life, for no matter how great the sorrow, the tragedy, the guilt, or the emptiness, we can always reach out our hands and find that our Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, is there with us: the One who struggled up the Way of Sorrows so that we all might be brought to resurrection.

It is good to be happy in church, it is good to be stringent in church, but it is vitally necessary that we be real.

And the Lord said, Follow me...