I can really start to feel them this time of the year at the apex of summer.
Especially here in the Sierra Valley of Northern California. It’s constantly blue skies and bright sun from first light to dusk. I know that it sounds like I’m bragging, but I’m really not (okay, maybe a little).
It’s so strange how much I’ve grown to love the more penitential liturgical seasons like Advent and Lent. I look forward to our communal confession (it’s so weird to be admitting that in print) that we say regularly during those times of the year.
Yes, I know the world has been blown up and turned upside down in 2020. Do we need more somberness right now? Do we need to go through the muck and the mud any more?
I say, no…
However, what I DO need (and I can only speak for myself here) is a season to allow God to hold it all.
For so long, I looked back at the rite of confession from my Roman Catholic upbringing with a W-T-F glare. But now, it’s one of the most enriching parts of the liturgy. Not as a way to wallow in self-loathing (though that can also be cathartic in a weird way). But to be held in my flawed human frailty by the very ground of being.
I love these more penitential seasons because they allow for utterly honest self-examination before God.
I know that a lot of thinkers from the 60s and 70s thought that if we just removed the wrathful God from our cultural narrative that we’d be guilt-free. But it’s not the case.
The inner-accuser (satan) is still there. It will always be there. No amount of work that we do will be enough to appease it. It wants more and more from us, from the world, and from the people around us.
And since many of us don’t go to church anymore (especially now during the pandemic), where do we go?
A lot of us go to work (if we’re so fortunate to have work at this moment). We show up at work and unconsciously see that as a way to absolve ourselves of the accuser’s voice.