Getting Rid of God: Ash Wednesday
II Corinthians 5:20 “We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
Within each of us are contradictions. We are both afraid and hopeful about the future. We are both angry and happy at the state of the world. We are both hungry and sated each day. We listen to our hearts and our minds. We are funny and serious. Giving and selfish. Smart and stupid. At our core, we are dichotomous. We hold forth opposite truths at the same time.
But holding forth opposite truths can be exhausting. Loving and hating your brother can take a toll. Being selfish and giving can make you like a puppy chasing your tail. Being brilliant and ridiculously stupid is like writing a profound statement and misspelling half of the words.
Reconciliation brings resolution to these things.
There are two definitions of the word reconciliation. The first, most used in an accounting or auditing context, is what we talk about when we reconcile our checkbooks. We compare two numbers to demonstrate the basis for the difference between them, or we balance debits, credits, and totals between two systems. The second definition, used mostly in a theological or relational sense is the reestablishing of friendly relations, either between two individuals or between God and humanity.
Our Scripture today says, “be reconciled to God.” But how can we be reconciled to God when we are not reconciled within our heads and hearts, when we are not reconciled with our brothers and sisters, and when our thinking about God and our feelings about God do not match?
This Lenten season, I have but one request: that I be able to reconcile my head and my heart, reconcile with my friends and those who would be enemies, and reconcile with God. For me, that means expanding my heart and my mind to accept the contradictions in myself and in others, and especially in God.
I am not reconciled to them because my vision is not big enough.
My Lenten prayer, that I be able to reconcile my head and my heart, reconcile with my friend and those who would be enemies, and reconcile with God, starts with a simple prayer from Meister Eckhart. He said, “I pray that God rid me of God.”
In effect, I am giving up God for Lent. At least, giving up the God I think I know, and leaving room for a bigger vision of this Source.
Throughout the 40 days, I’d ask that you pray the same, that God rid you of God. Take a few minutes today to center on the prayer, “Please, God, rid me of God.”