About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Reformed Lent

It is probably not that well known here in US, but the Swiss Reformation (of which Presbyterians are an integral part) started on March 9th, 1522 when Huldrich Zwingli, Leo Jud and some other radicals from Zurich gathered and publicly defied the Roman Catholic Lent observances by cutting a “wurst” into slices and distributing them and eating them as mocked hosts. Soon after this public event Zwingli delivered a sermon called “Regarding the Choice and the Freedom of Foods”, which he published shortly afterwards on April 16, 1522.
    Thus this old defiance of Lent is to the Reform Tradition (including Presbyterians) what opposition to indulgences and the 95 Theses are for Lutherans. Lent, in its full pre-reformation form, was a ploy of the totalitarian medieval Church to spiritually and mentally control the subjugated populations, and in this form was rightly resented and rejected by reformers.
    Calvin and other reformers were not as radical as Zwingli in dismissing Lent and fasting, yet still followed in their reservations towards these outer observances. They were well backed by the powerful prophetic message, for instance from Isaiah 58.

   You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance,
   bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind.
   You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes.
   Is this what you call fasting?
   Do you really think this will impress the LORD?
   "No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
      Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
      lighten the burden of those who work for you.
      Let the oppressed go free,
      and remove the chains that bind people.
      Share your food with the hungry,
      and give shelter to the homeless.
      Give clothes to those who need them,
      and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

 Not any outer shows, not any magical thinking, but inner transformation of the heart and especially true acts of justice and love are those things which truly matter! And they matter not only in any particular season of Lent, but always!
    When we ignore the true prophetic call, when we do not know or do not want to know the divine radical message of justice and peace, when we do not hear and perceive the true purpose for our lives, we human beings tend to revert to religious rituals and magical thinking. Deep inside we know we are easy sailing through our lives while time is slipping in between our fingers - and thus we fill the true emptiness  with little cute rituals and cyclical observances and annual liturgical busyness so that we feel less empty, less miserable in missing our true call. But the call is still there.
This Sunday we will continue reading the beautiful yet also challenging book of Song of Songs. This time we will talk not only about deep love, but also about the mishaps of love, and challenges and dangers it encounters, how it resists, survives and prevails in encounters with morality police - encounters with different and diverse demons of prejudice and narrow-mindedness.

No comments: