Saturday, February 24, 2007

Things Done and Left Undone - Part II


During this Season of Lent, the idea is to focus a bit on ourselves - not in isolation, though. We are to be thinking about ourselves in the context of our relationships, with others and with God. And, more important, we are not just to be thinking about those relationships, but coming to some ideas and conclusions and also putting into practice what we might do to right the wrongs.

In the Episcopal Church's Book of Common Prayer, we have a prayer of confession - a general prayer that we pray together to remind us that we are all in this state, both as individuals and as the corporate body that we call the church. The prayer goes like this:

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Today, I want to take a moment to think aloud about the Things Left Undone part of this.

Sometimes, we leave things undone because we are purely avoiding doing what we just don't feel like doing. When that happens, we have a couple of choices, the way I see it. We can will our selves to do the left-undone thing, because we know it is the right thing to do. That's the just do it approach. Or we can make a further examination of ourselves, maybe with a listening ear of a friend or professional, to help us get at the root of why we don't want to do this thing.

Other times though, we move forward, attempting to do the Thing Left Undone. We take tiny steps to prepare, we prepare to prepare. Really, what we're doing is procrastinating - lying to ourselves about our real intentions and progress. For a very real and very funny take on this check out this video link. Don't delay - do this now!

Then take a moment to think on the Things Left Undone in your life. Pray about them. Ask what's behind the things getting left undone? Is it a matter of avoidance? Procrastination? Shame? Fear? Ask God to guide you in sorting out the priorities. Then, doggone it, take some action. The first step? I suggest some quiet time alone with the prayer above.

2 comments:

Catherine + said...

An excellent and stimulating post, Jennier+. I have taken up your suggestion of chanting The Great Litany but had to make up the chant as I went along. Is there a particular chant sequence that you sing in this case. I had used the one we use to chant the psalm each Sunday but it may be too serene for the Litany...something a bit more serious maybe?

Catherine+, who has never been good at figuring out chants...the musical part anyway.

Jennifer+ said...

Catherine-
There is a version in the Service Music portion of the Hymnal at S67. If you have access to the accompaniment version, it has the entire text and vocal pointing.

Glad you found this helpful!
A blessed Lent to you.