Tuesday, May 12, 2009

In the Desert of Sorrow and Sin

That is the title to an old Protestant hymn we used to sing in the churches of Christ. As I was driving through the desert I came across the embodiment of the song. The desert is the place we encounter the demons and death. The desert reminds us we are frail and faithless and totally dependent on God, whether that desert is this physical reality or an inner desert. The Nevada desert is full of death, sorrow and sin...the sum of the futility of the fallen world.

It is the death of ideals and causes

It is the death of plans, businesses, livelihoods, careers, and monuments to human creativity
It is the death of love, relationships and infatuations
It lays claim to life in a twinkling of an eye with no respect of person, time and place.
It is the home of the demons of the "Playmate Ranch", the death of personhood where people dry up and in a metaphor become "beef jerky", meat, willing cattle bred and nurtured for consumption and love is a small flower on the edge of a vast, hardened soil awaiting a sip of the Water of Life.
But once in a while someone who is taking candle stubs to a monastery to recycle stumbles through the desert and remembers God, and lights a candle and stops for a moment to pray for all those who have died and are dying.


Fr. James Early said...

Good stuff, Steve. Keep it coming!

Konstantina said...

I just listened to your podcast on this grave you found. I liked it a lot. It's nice to be reminded of death and that we're all connected.
Prayers are without boundaries in Orthodoxy and Christ's mercy is limitless. May God bless you in your journey... through this life and into death!

s-p said...

Thank you Konstantina, I found it comforting that the Orthodox faith actually "permitted" me to do something at the grave beside just muse and wonder who is in there. I love Kallistos Ware's thought: We pray for the dead because love demands it.

ryan said...

I listened to your first podcast in the "On the Road" series this morning during my prayers (sometimes I need a little help!). Funny how we tend to get wrapped up in the will of God as it applies to the destination. I've been there a lot lately; dreaming worthless dreams, missing today's opportunities by dream's pursuits.

Then I read and prayed Ps. 4 - "You have put more joy in my heart that they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety."

Add that together and you have the makings of a very contented morning.

Edward said...

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