living liturgically (season one, episode twelve, last sunday after the epiphany)

A friend of mine told me that epiphany is a season of revelation, and that seems to be true for me. There’s been a lot of revelation for me, so much that I’m not quite sure what to do with it, except give it to Jesus which I’m going to be honest and say is proving to be more difficult than it sounds. I really don’t want to deal with my own shit, but I end up not wanting to give it up either, which is really counterproductive but that’s what seems to happen anyway. I’ve learned that light will always penetrate the darkness, and since Jesus is the light of the world, I need him to handle this stuff anyway. It’s simply too heavy for me to bear, and Christ has already borne it all.

I’m being told, and trying to accept, that these things don’t come to the light for punishment, but rather for redemption. It’s almost time for Lent, and so it seems that this time of revelation flows naturally into my response to the revelation, which is to walk into the wilderness of Lent to consider my relationship with Jesus. A time of penitence, to bring about redemption. The thing I need to focus on this Lent is to trust that Jesus has already redeemed this stuff, and simply to hand it over. I can’t bear it on my own and I’m not supposed to. I know this and yet I hold off, feeling like I’ve not been punished enough for it yet, feeling that I’m the most evil person on the face of the planet (although I think that Vladimir Putin is definitely challenging that), that Jesus couldn’t possibly love me after all I’ve done.

I feel unworthy of love from friends, that if people truly knew where I’d been, I’d lose everyone, but that’s not true because thankfully, I still have my beautiful people have chosen to stay by me. It’s not about simply facing the evil I have done, it’s about accepting the fact that Jesus died so that my evil could be redeemed. Part of repentance includes change (I have a friend who insists it also means forgiving myself), and that change for me needs to be the turning over of this shit to Jesus. Inviting him into the darkness and trusting him to light the way.

Jesus doesn’t want the evil to fester, he wants to heal it. I know this full well and yet I let my feelings of unworthiness get in the way. I’ve been struggling through these feelings lately. I know that these things lose their power over me once I stop holding on to them. And yet, I still hold on. I feel like I’ve not been punished enough yet, or that I need to do certain things to make me worthy of redemption. But Jesus has already chased me down, found my dumb ass as close to hell on earth as I could get, and reached his hand out. I chose to take his hand, and that was definitely the first step. As I fumbled and tried to adjust to the light, it began to permeate the darkness until the darkness simply couldn’t remain.

I’m still adjusting to the light, I suspect that will be the case for quite a while, but I sure do like being in the light. The desire for the dark isn’t entirely gone, and it won’t be. The point is to keep chosing the light, and to do that I need to trust the light. In this last Sunday of the Epiphany, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus, I remember that the transfiguration was transformative, and that at some point after the transfiguration, Jesus went into the darkness of the passion. The darkness of the crucifixion became the light of the resurrection. Death to life. Darkness to light. Jesus is a healer, and he’s waiting to heal me.

Published by MaryClare StFrancis

MaryClare StFrancis is a writer who sounds as boring as hell but who is intimately acquainted with the horrific and the sacred. For a long time, darkness has been her friend, but she now walks in the light of Christ. As a committed Episcopalian, her main contribution to the church is her ability to make the priests facepalm or swear, depending on the day and context. MaryClare has a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and lives in Mississippi with her four children.

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