Because life is a series of edits

A (Long) Lament for the Church

In Thought on September 26, 2006 at 11:23 am

Taken from Learner’s journal entry, written as part of the seminary’s annual day of prayer this morning:

“God, here I am with another complaint, yet one that is near to your heart (and becoming more so to mine). I don’t desire to whine, but that’s all I seem to do after I make such a qualification. Hear me, God, and understand my heart.

I’m weary, Jesus, of your ugly bride – of her inadequacies, of her incompetencies, of her indecency. I’m weary of how your grace covers a multitude of her sins when, frankly, a little more of your wrath (or at least your discipline) might seem to bring about faster change. I’m weary of how your bride is little more than a whore in a wedding dress, and how that seems to bother me more than it does you.

I’m tired of your chosen companion to whom you have committed yourself – she is self-absorbed, completely clueless, and driving me crazy with her wedding plans. If you would just set a date and get married already, then maybe you would be able to (finally) get her under control.

She is rude, Jesus – and arrogant, too, so much so that everything she does is tainted with pride and a lack of honest reflection and communication with you. How can you allow this to go on? Does it not bother you that excellence and beauty are of little concern to her? Are you not aware of how poorly she does everything and is either unaware or unconcerend with her performance? Are you even aware or concerned with her performance? Sometimes I wonder.

Does it not bother you, the words she puts in your mouth? The assumptions she makes? The lack of concern she seems to exhibit for what you have always said you cared about? Does it not bother you that she is flirtatious and easily distracted by other suitors? That she is a gossip? That she is both a prostitute and a prude, depending on who’s watching?

And to think, you are still engaged to her after all this time! Why? How can you love her – care for her – think of her with any kind of hope for change in your heart? How can who she is be worthy of who you are? And why am I so offended and almost sorry for the fact that you are so in love with her? She doesn’t at all seem your type or on your level.

And yet you are in love with her – you say you are, you show you are, you’re sure you are. You’re not ashamed of her (or at least you don’t seem to be), and you’ve yet to reconsider your commitment to her (at least not that I know of). You’ve lain down your life for her and put your reputation (which, in most circles, is quite good when it’s apart from her) on the line by not just associating with her, but by being her beau.

And you’re patient with her, both now and presumably in the future. And while I don’t even begin to understand that, I admire you for it. I want to try to understand, and I want to try to love her the way you love her (though I may not always know why). I know you love her, and that must mean she’s worth loving – or maybe she’s not, but you do anyway.

Forgive me for my critique; for my own unloveableness; for my own unwillingness to love. Help me love that which you do – in the way you do – to the degree you do.

And send me an invite to the wedding. As much as it’s hard to believe, I want to be there when you two finally get hitched.”

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