Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Step One -no cover-up

GospelMark 16:15-20 

Jesus showed himself to the Eleven, and said to them: ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’
  And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.

Step One; Admitted we were powerless and that our lives were unmanageable....

In the last post some of my thinking processes had brought me back to the practice of the Twelve Step programme as a guide to growth and healing in the spiritual life.

Looking back to last year, I decided to do this at the beginning of May but about the same time from Easter; how strange. Shouldn't I be filled with the joy and power of the Resurrection instead of retaining the fear and anticipation of the Easter garden?

Last year I wondered if the Gospel would provide a connection for each over the Steps over twelve days and took this on as a challenge. This year I am taking it as a journey - perhaps I have already learned something?

It seemed that the feast of Mark the Evangelist would be a good day to start; especially as this year it is his Gospel that has lead us to the Risen Christ.  When we began studying Mark in Scripture group our first impressions was that it was a Gospel where Love overcomes fear but only through hard work. 

The Twelve Steps are 'worked'; they are not easy; they are not meant to be. They challenge all the denials and excuses of the ego; and if it doesn't work the first time they do it again and again - if you are willing. Mark's Gospel takes Jesus, and us, down a similar, stark path; more wounds to heal, more demons to cast aside, more diversions to make - Jesus does not climb a ladder to the cross.

The only time Jesus puts himself on a pedestal is when he rides the donkey into Jerusalem and it makes him a target for those who would see him at their feet. When Jesus puts himself there, at their feet, in the Garden of Gethsemene his journey to greatness begins - through his choice to make himself powerless. A choice that we find so incredulous. 

From this point of view, today's Gospel seems particularly appropriate. The scholars tell us that Mark actually finished writing his account of the Gospel at verse eight;

 8They got out as fast as they could, beside themselves, their heads swimming. Stunned, they said nothing to anyone. (The Message)

This was too desperate; too unfinished; too much of a state of panic to finish a telling of the 'Good News' so the verses were added to compliment the Resurrection story of the other Gospels.

How typically human to try to control the mystery; to bring the confusion to reconciliation; to avoid the admission that, rather than affirming 'Here am I' we cry out, our heads swimming, 'Where am I?'

In Step One we have to let go of the cover-ups; of the coping strategies; even of 'looking of the bright side of life'. 

We cannot neglect our own ills and demons forever. We cannot spend our days pretending we are superheroes;  drinking poisons and casting out devils. The time comes when the cool, dark, earth of the garden beckons; we have to stop, we have to return to verse 8 and we have admit that this is as far as we can go on our own.

Step One Prayer 
Dear Lord,
   I admit that I am powerless.

I admit that when I try to control my life 
it becomes unmanageable.
Help me this day to understand
The true meaning of powerlessness.   
Remove from me this denial.


1 comment:

log said...

"Blessed are the poor in spirit..."
Happy are those who recognise their personal powerlessness and abandon themselves to God. Thank you Mairie.+x