Digging Out in Lent
This week's reflection is from Revd Devin, Associate Vicar
At the back of our garden stands a pile of sewage-soaked clay and soil a meter and a half high. It's a new geographical feature, caused by the failure of the sewer line and the lengthy repair work taking place to replace the line. We've taken to calling it Mount Poopberg. My son, who is teaching himself Latin, has named it Mons Stercore.
And it's not a bad metaphor for the work of Lent. Because sometimes the cares and distractions of this world don't lead us into cheerful decadence and false comfort. Sometimes the cares and distractions of this present age make it impossible to deal with our spiritual...stercore. Our worries, our fears, our distractions, our twitter feeds, our sloth and gluttony, send their insidious roots into those hidden pipelines of the soul. They dig their tendrils and roots in precisely because our sins feed on fear, rage, despair, and anxiety. Which is all well and good until those anxieties and despair backs up into the household — or, as happened with our literal Mons Stercore, into the neighbour's household. We take out our anxiety and grief on those we love, or take them out in hurting ourselves, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Dealing with that buildup then becomes a big and daunting project. My sewer system has Anglia Water to come and dig. You have your church, and a whole network of saints, to encourage you in seeking and using the help you need. When our life of prayer — which is more than saying the Daily Office, it's our emotional and spiritual and mental honesty as well — when our life of prayer is rightly ordered, we can acknowledge our stercore, we can let God into those dark places and know we are still loved, know that we are human and not only fallible but given the emotions of grief and fear and wonder and sorrow and anger all for very good and helpful reasons. Jesus Christ, who has known all these things, loves us still. And we can let go of the emotions and thoughts which would otherwise damage us. The life of prayer doesn't have to be pretty. It's sometimes full of stercore. Lent is a time to remind your soul to let those things flow away, loved and surrendered, rightly ordered, unimpaired by the cares and distractions of this world.