It is Sunday afternoon and I have been to church in Findlay Ohio and returned home to read the Sunday times and then to spend time in the prayer room.
The text for both the sermon this morning and meditation this afternoon was Mark 9: 30-37. Jesus is traveling with his disciples and teaching them about his coming suffering and when they arrived there is this dialogue:
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest.
In the meditation on this text I read about "philautia" which means love of self and was called the "queen of all vices." I know this vice very well. How we get caught up in our own egos and ambitions and miss out on what God is doing.
So, I sat in what I was calling prayer pondering this and trying to let go of my philautia. But even in prayer there is this question - how am I doing? am I doing this right? when I see my new spiritual director will I be "the greatest" prayer? am I going to be rewarded (like with a great insight or something!)? If you could read my mind during my "prayer time" you would be appalled by the "philautia" - the self concern - that keeps floating and in and out of what I really want to be time opening myself to God and God's spirit. And what I know is that my comparing myself with others is always coming out of a sense of anxiety and inadequacy. But how do I stop?
I gave up and went to my IPAD for something and my eyes fell on the end of the scripture and I did see something new.
35He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” 36Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
And maybe there is some hope for me here - something about uncovering, discovering, recovering the child within me who is not ambitious or wary or self protective. That child who is vulnerable, open, joyful, trusting and fun. I feel like this journey with God is one of letting go of the serious and anxious Margot and rediscovering a much more playful and joyful part of myself. A little girl who knows she is loved no matter what.
Sometimes when I get to this place of seriousness and self flagellation I remember a home movie of me when I was about 6 - and I am jumping and running and excited by something. Which is who I so often was when I was a child. Excited. So I picture that little girl and I know the blessings of her life - too many to name - and feel ready to welcome her. Here she is with her big brother, Wayne.
This little girl knew she was loved no matter what and like her I can trust enough to listen to God instead of trying to manage everything for myself.
I return to the silence and in it I hear a voice of love and yes, laughter. God is HERE, I am HERE. we are HERE together and it is good.