“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability....To be alive is to be vulnerable,” says Madeleine L’Engle. Jesus seems to agree.
During Lent we follow Jesus and journey into the wildness of the wilderness and find the power of vulnerability.
When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, you shall make this response before the Lord your God: "A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
Have you ever had to do a genealogical project at school that made you map out your family tree? If your experience was anything like mine, you were probably equally comforted by all the names you recognized and puzzled by all those unfamiliar ones. When we think of our families, we often imagine that it couldn’t have been any other way. It is almost like all of these relationships were destined to be, and all of them had to lead to me.
Of course, that is anything but the case. The richness of our family histories creates a sense of security and stability, but that’s only because of the privilege of our historical perspective. In today's passage from Deuteronomy, God instructs us to remember that even when we enter the “Promised Land” and come into our own, we are still wanderers like our ancestors. This is God’s invitation to remain in pilgrimage.
God of the wanderer, keep me safe in the journey and, although I may feel vulnerable or lost, help me to find no home until I find my rest in you. Amen.
May God the creator empower you to see your vulnerability as your source of strength, prompting you to reach out to the vulnerable and marginalized in your life.
May God the servant cultivate abundant love in you, allowing you to display your truest and most vulnerable self.
May God the comforter give you enough peace for you to share your insecurities and vulnerabilities with the world.