The theme for Quest (also known as the Church of the Larger Fellowship, Unitarian Universalist) this month is brokenness. I've certainly been feeling this theme the last few weeks.
Ash Wednesday was a typically beautiful, somber service at church. As part of the service, we write on a slip of paper bad habits, stumbling blocks, shortcomings, anything we feel we need to give up during this Lent season. Then we put it all in a large bowl. The minister lit it, and allowed it to burn to ashes, which we then put on our forehead in a cross. It's very similar, actually, to some spells I've done for similar reasons, only I didn't cross myself with the ashes. It reminded me that ritual, prayer, and spellwork really are just different paths to the same end.
Last Lent season, I gave up meat one day a week - Mondays. I did well, and continued the practice as a weekly spiritual practice. This season, I'm expanding my commitment to eating vegetarian for the entire season of Lent (excluding Sundays, as is tradition in many denominations). Like last year, I am doing this to remind myself of what I put in my body, how I impact the world around me, and awareness of the inhumane practices animals often suffer through before they reach us as food. Also like last year, I am considering this a "test run" with the possibility of continuing as a full-out vegetarian after Lent, or at the very least, transitioning my Flexitarianism from "mostly omnivore with occasional vegetarian meals" to "mostly vegetarian with occasional omnivorous meals". So far so good.
I've learned this week that the Quest website now has live online services on Sundays at 7pm and 9pm, and repeating the 7pm service at 1:30pm on Monday. Today's was, as I suggested at the beginning of this post, about brokenness. It was wonderfully done, and I do believe I will watch these regularly, since my brick-and-mortar church does not have church in the evenings, only on Sunday mornings. I also plan on watching through the rest (there aren't very many yet, as they have only recently begun doing this, and even more recently begun recording them for later) to catch up.
As stated before, I've been aware of my brokenness for quite some time now. I was reminded how, as a child, I felt guilty as a Caucasian for the horrors that my culture has done to minority races and religions, from driving the Native Americans off of their land, to slavery, to fighting immigration. I'm aware of my own shortcomings, as someone who tends to put himself down a little too much, and who procrastinates, and who struggles to maintain a steady spiritual discipline.
But on the other side of brokenness, lies salvation. That which puts you back together. I'm reminded that I'm doing things to make sure I don't carry out my culture's racism, sexism, and bigotry. I have felt more aware and intentional in my actions the last couple of days, than I have since Advent. I hope to start blogging more - this time for real. Much of it culminated tonight, after my Celtic spirituality meeting, and I went to the beach for a bit of night viewing. It was one of the most beautiful night scenes I've seen. The moon was beautifully bright, the waves looked as though they were in a spotlight. It brought me to a sense of total inner peace with myself. And that, my friends, is salvation. When you have peace with yourself. And when you have peace with yourself, you also have peace with the Divine, whether you call it God, Spirit, whatever.