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Being Honest

A Lent Reflection for Wednesday, March 13 by Amanda Munroe


Lectionary reading for 03/13/2024: Psalm 107:1-16; Isaiah 60:15-22; John 8:12-20

Selected passage for reflection: Psalm 107:1-16


Read

Psalm 107 NRSV

Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Many Troubles

1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

those he redeemed from trouble

3 and gathered in from the lands,

from the east and from the west,

from the north and from the south.[a]

4 Some wandered in desert wastes,

finding no way to an inhabited town;

5 hungry and thirsty,

their soul fainted within them.

6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

and he delivered them from their distress;

7 he led them by a straight way,

until they reached an inhabited town.

8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

for his wonderful works to humankind.

9 For he satisfies the thirsty,

and the hungry he fills with good things.

10 Some sat in darkness and in gloom,

prisoners in misery and in irons,

11 for they had rebelled against the words of God

and spurned the counsel of the Most High.

12 Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor;

they fell down, with no one to help.

13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

and he saved them from their distress;

14 he brought them out of darkness and gloom,

and broke their bonds apart.

15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

for his wonderful works to humankind.

16 For he shatters the doors of bronze

and cuts in two the bars of iron


Reflect 

The 16th century mystic Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (and later canonized by the Catholic Church, to become St. Ignatius of Loyola), advises in his instructions for contemplative prayer that we identify moments of “desolation” and moments of “consolation” as we share our lives with God. Moments of “desolation” tend to be signaled by negative feelings and are sometimes wound up with estrangement from ourselves, our sense of God’s presence, or from one another. Consolation is signaled by feelings of alignment, joy, and healthy connection. A key teaching in Ignatian Spirituality is that both desolation and consolation are valuable. Both can prove instructive: identifying both moments of desolation and consolation with loving care can cultivate a deeper awareness of God’s involvement in our lives. 


Psalm 107 paints a dramatic picture of the human experience of consolation and desolation– materially, spiritually, and everywhere in between. What the Psalmist appears most convicted of is God’s participation in it all. Throughout the passage, God is described as highly active: God gathers, delivers, leads, nourishes, brings out, breaks, and shatters. By the Psalmist’s account, if change is afoot, God is in the mix.


This passage reminds me to look for God in what is changing in my life, in the parts that feel consoling and in the parts that feel disconsoling. It’s a relief, even a form of rest, to know I can be honest with God about all of them. 


Respond 

In prayer today, review the last 24 hours of your life and and share honestly with God about the moments that felt whole and good to you, as well as about the moments that felt difficult, whether or not you know why. Invite yourself to be honest with God, and invite God to show you where God is active in your life. After your review, consider making a list of verbs describing God’s activity in your day, perhaps mirroring the Psalmist’s list of verbs. 


Rest 

God, we give thanks to you for your steadfast love, unchanging in its goodness even as our understanding of it changes. Thank you for the power of your love to liberate, to nourish, to redeem, to sustain, and to endure. Help us to be honest with you and with ourselves in moments of desolation and consolation alike. Amen. 


About the Author 


Amanda Munroe lives in the Hudson Valley and loves to hear crunching and sloshing sounds when they walk, whether it’s through leaves, snow, or slush. She spends her days imagining a peaceful world and crafting strategies for how to get there in her job directing restorative practices at a small liberal arts college populated by as many trees as it is people.


Amanda holds an M.Div from Union Theological Seminary and an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University. Amanda enjoys guest preaching and offers one-to-one spiritual care. Reach out to Amanda at am5520@utsnyc.edu and https://www.linkedin.com/in/amandamunroe123.

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