Lent, as a season of the Church Year and as a practice, can be a “means of grace” as we allow it to be transformative of our ordinary conscious awareness of time and the ebb and flow of our spiritual journey. Worship, prayer, compassionate service, communion, reading Scripture, rituals such as weddings and funerals can all be a “means of grace” – times of “re-membering” and “recalibrating” our story within the larger Wisdom story of God’s love and grace that is “we-centered” and inclusively “non-tribal.”
We are bombarded 24/7 by radio, television, and social media marketing, social interactions – sometimes in person with family, friends, co-workers and sometimes on Facebook, Twitter, etc. – pressuring us to believe that being Cunning is a real path to success. The pressures are very subtle and persuasive but are built on narcissistic “me-centered” on “my-tribe-centered” values.
To “re-member” is to put in perspective our story of interacting with God’s grace as a here-and-now lived experience rather than a memory or theoretical belief. Paul passes on an early tradition of Jesus’ words to the disciples “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me” which can be taken as a simple “don’t forget this moment in time” or it could be “re-member — pull back together the reality of this moment as a current reality — and know that I am with you in every moment.”
To “recalibrate” is to reset our guiding value system to discern the wisdom of living in the awareness of God’s love and grace for all humanity; to decontaminate from all the pressures to believe that being narcissistically cunning is our path to worth and value.
St. Paul’s recalibrating advice is: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”– Romans 12:2 NRSV
His “re-membering” reminder about falling for being Cunning is: “For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” – I Cor 1:25
M. Scott Peck points out the risks and the blessings of what I am calling “re-membering” and “recalibrating”:
“The tentacles of narcissism are subtle and penetrating and must be hacked away one by one, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. … the further we proceed in diminishing our narcissism – our self-centeredness and sense of self-importance – the more we discover ourselves becoming not only less fearful of death, but also less fearful of life. … We begin to experience a sustained kind of happiness we never experienced before, as we become more self-forgetful and hence progressively more able to remember God.”
M. Scott Peck, Gifts for the Journey: Treasures of the Christian Life, page 126. Quoted in n Easter Earthquake: How Resurrection Shakes Our World, page 46.