Reflections in Lent: “I am that I am”

Reflections in Lent: Life Force
March 27, 2014
Reflections in Lent: In Adam
March 29, 2014

Let me be blunt, brothers and sisters in Christ. We live in an over-sexed, over-politicized, over-dramatized, over-materialized, over-individualized hot mess of a country. We call it democracy: each to his own, all hands equal, each with a loud and colic-strung voice. We must be attended to. We must have our choice, our say, our opinion. We, as a sea of I’s, make up a stuck-up turd of an empire that has no serious investment in God—the whom in which we trust. Oh no. We deserve, we have a right, we have a privilege, we have a need to be individual, and we must be satisfied whatsoever the cost.

I am one of us, though I don’t shout it with a flag clutched in my white man hands. I confess it: I am what I am. And as me, I have become not one of us, not anything at all but the paragon of greed.

Some 20 days ago, I began these reflections to bring myself closer to my faith. Whatever that means. To find God a little? To bring God to me? To confess my constant unconfession? It’s been a muddy slog, and I haven’t had any starry-eyed revelations, no “come to Jesus” conversions. But I did do this, last night, on the bus, on a banal and bitter Thursday: I listened to a ruddy voice read me Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Among other things, Paul said this: “…speaking the truth in love,we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

Builds itself up. Each part does its work. Held together. Body of Christ. I am an I, and that is true, but I have no meaning except that I am made of we: strung together, buttressing the last and the first. I still want what I want, and that’s the problem—soaking in the dissatisfaction that I am not getting what I deserve, when what I deserve and what I own is to be part of a thing greater than I.

Where does our unhappiness come from in our personal freedoms and fevered individualistic pursuits? There is no “I” in Lord, friends. No “I” in body—save that body that once said to the servant Moses, “Tell them ‘I am’ sent you.”

Who is that being that flaunts the “I” like a spiritual Gucci handbag!? Oh, that would be the body of Christ. How ironic.

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