(Continued from “You are Dust”)
Most sermons simply aren’t that memorable. Many are good, encouraging, helpful, instructive…but memorable? However, there was this series from Graham Cooke that I heard nearly 20 years ago that sticks with me to this day. In discussing our general lack of discernment he noted that many times we try to rebuke the Spirit’s work of the cross in our lives…assuming that all suffering is an attack of the enemy.
As he tells the story, one day his spiritual mentor looked and him and said, “Stop bleating, Graham. No one wants to hear you bleat. Die quietly.”
That is a hard thing.
Isaiah says of Jesus:
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (53:7)
My brushes with death usually sound more like the lead role in a Shakespearean tragedy. “Good Horatio…tell my story.” Vindicate my life. Validate my suffering.
Any death is bearable if someone will “tell my story.”
Yet in the initial liturgy of Lent, those prayers we say together on Ash Wednesday, Mother Church reminds me of our mother tongue, repentance.
“For our self pity…Lord, have mercy upon us.”
Let us die quietly.
(Next: Remember me.)