General anaesthetic

Great Lent is approaching, below is an excerpt from the annual Lenten letter that I distributed to the saints at Holy Covenant.

Imagine yourself in the emergency room of a hospital. From where you are laying you can hear the noise of people in pain. You were one of the lucky ones that made it all the way to the hospital, not all from the car crash did. Blood is coming running down your cheeks and from your chins. A sharp pain from the elbow makes you aware of that not everything is as it should. The voices of concerned and stressed nurses disappears in the distance as you start to fade away under general anaesthetics.

Imagine yourself in the sanctuary of a church. From were you sit you can feel the uneasiness of people struggling. You were one of the fortunate ones to make it all the way to church, not all from the storm of life did. Tears are running down your cheeks  and  you feel stressed. A numbing pain from your stomach makes you aware of that not everything is as it should. The voices of concerned and stressed pastors and friends disappears in the distance as you start to fade away under the blanket of… Lent.

In many ways Lent is like a general anaesthetic. It does not necessarily take away pain but Lent can have a very calming impact on the essence of our being when we realize that it is not in our own strength that the purpose of Lent is accomplished. When we follow Christ out into the wild, into the quiet place, the sounds and noise of the emergency room and the busy city, fades away by default. There, in the calm, when we remain in one place, the Healer can do His intrinsic surgery. I would suspect that even Jesus finds it hard to operate on someone who is running around, splashing blood all over the operating room. Or even worse, someone who is trying to operate on all the wounds by himself.

Lent is like a general anaesthetic in that it invites us to  completely surrender to the Doctor. We are not even aware of all the procedures that are taking place in the operating room but we are there. We trust that the Doctor will perform whatever needs to be done to make us well. Lent presents us with the opportunity to let go of all those things that has kept us from going to the hospital. Coffee , screen time   or sugar is only bad if it makes it harder to go to the Doctor. Go to Him in the hospital and ask His advice on how to balance those things. We often seem to find excuses when we know we need to go to the hospital saying things like: “I’m not really sick, it will blow over.”, “I don’t want to bother the Doctor,  He is busy already.”, “I’m so busy, it can wait.” and on it goes until we fall off a chair  all alone with our body full of cancer. Let go of the excuses that keep your from receiving a proper diagnosis and from entering the operating room. Present yourself to the Doctor, He will take care of you.

I hope I’ll see you in the hospital,

fr. Jakob

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