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Wednesday after Lent II–March 11, 2009

  • Posted on Mar 11, 2009

The Mighty Leviathan

On the fifth day God said, “Let the waters bring forth living creatures.” So the wind awakened the waters into life. Great sea-monsters were born. Gleaming fish swarmed the seas. Winged birds of every kind rose out of the waters. Creeping things crawled from the sea. Wild animals ran free. And the cattle roamed the grasslands. God saw that it was good. Earth was alive with its creatures. And there was evening and morning, creation’s fifth day. Translation of Genesis 1 by Philip Newell

Have you ever been fascinated by the Loch Ness Monster? When I was a little girl, there were stories of the great dragon-like sea-creature living at the bottom of the Scottish lake. Like the UFO sightings, there is talk from time to time of something large seen arising on the surface of Loch Ness. Such tales have been around for centuries. Celtic legend recounts that St Columba saw a young boy swimming across the loch (lake) when a great sea monster arose and began swimming after the boy. St Columba rebuked the monster. He does not kill the monster. He does not try to tame the monster. He does his best to keep the monster from using its awesome power for ill instead of good.

We are all fascinated by what lies in the deep–in the dark cave—at the bottom of the well. In Lent, it would be helpful to be fascinated at what lies in the depths of our soul. We’d rather stick to the whereabouts of the Loch Ness monster or Big Foot. What lies in the depths of our souls can be a very powerful force. It can be a force used for good or for ill. It is important that we know what lies there. It is important to confront those parts of ourselves that lie deep inside. For if we do not know the power of our deep, we often are controlled by the power of those memories and feelings. How do we get a handle on this? Is it just to big too handle? Isn’t it just better to wonder and marvel about mythic creatures than to wonder and marvel at the mythic creature within?

The power of liturgy–especially the power of Lent and Holy Week–can help us to touch that powerful deep within us. As we move closer to the most sacred week of the Christian year, we can prepare through opening our hearts and souls to God in prayer. That’s what the Lenten discipline is really all about–getting in touch with our deep. Just a few minutes of silence or prayer time in the morning or evening can be enough. Coming to Sunday worship is even better. Preparing ourselves to attend the drama of the Holy Week services is a sure bet to touch the deep. Learning to be still before God and opening to God’s Spirit allows us to relinquish the death grip we have on the deepest part of ourselves–the deepest part that is most holy and most powerful. The deepest part that we most fear but is the way to wholeness and life.

Is there sometime that you feel in touch with the deep within? Have you felt it within a worship service? Have you felt it in the vastness of God’s creation and creatures?