a religious ceremony or act of the Christian Church that is regarded as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine grace, in particular.
For any pilgrim, it is the ceremony that is the outward reflection of our inward journey. Throughout Christendom there has been a sacrament of penance/confession. That is admitting when one has done wrong and seeking unity again with God. But this is a simpler understanding of what it has morphed into, now the sacrament of reconciliation. For this is a deeper understanding of holy relationships that permeate everything. The interconnection of the Holy Mystery in all, with all and through all. For Christians, it is the Holy Spirit, for others the creative force.
This is what ego, greed (pick your word for that which removes you from the flow, and allows “other” to create division) disrupts. It is the time of deep inward reflection, to be able to understand pain we have inflicted, or pain that has been inflicted, wrong done to us, or wrongs we have done to others, the list can go on and on.
Yet the piece of the sacrament that we have learned from our brothers and sisters around the world, is that the story needs to be told. It needs to be out there, and then we need to decide to move forward from that in a new beginning.
My Father used to say,
Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.
The moment when you can move from shouting matches, to actual discourse, dialogue, debate and argument is the moment you are no longer seeing one another as other but as equals in discussion…once seen as equals, you can move forward.
This is the sacramental challenge that lays heavy on my heart. For I do much work with folks throughout their lives to speak the truth of their story, and then to reconcile to move forward. Then there are moments when I am too stubborn to do the same.
Yet the Creator knows those moments, and enjoys laughter. It is in these moments that outward acts begin forcing inward change. I do not know where it will lead or what it means. Am I in a hurry to once again become a member? No.
But the last several weeks being back in a United Church of Canada congregation has become a sacramental act of reconciliation for me. My story has been told, it is out there for the universe to know. Now, it is time of contemplative action, letting my kids wonder in Wonder Kids, and rest in a chair during the service with the wife. Am I ready to move forward?
The new beginning has been laid before me.
The soul sludge is burning off.
Moments of laughter.
A social gospel congregation?
Yes, it is easy to rest in the labels of other, but at our core we part of the family of humanity on a journey to make our little corner of this world better.
Sometimes, it is simply easier to release that which may be holding us back on the journey towards the heart of the sacred, and the sacred heart that exists within us.
And yes, sometimes, that which we thought had been put to rest and released, was not and it takes literally stepping across a new threshold to reveal the light that burns off the darkness.
Now the question that remains when reconciliation work is working…
What is next?
What is the new beginning?
For, that is yet to come…
and blessedly undecided…
yet will be chosen with a refreshed heart, mind and soul.