Food for Thought: Descent, April 17, 2019

Food for Thought: Descent, April 17, 2019

Notes composed and discussion facilitated by Pastor Bryan Hackett.

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.


Become like children:

At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.  Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.” 

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

I would suggest that the ego, the false self, is incapable, for he is hell-bent on ascent. However, this is completely natural for the true self. She knows how, for she learned it as a child before anything else took place.

Shadow work: Descent into grief; honesty with sadness, fear, and anger. (“liminal space”)

Because we have avoided liminal space, we have created a very smug and middle-class kind of Christianity that has little wisdom or compassion to offer the world today.

In liminal space we sometimes need to not-do and not-perform according to our usual successful patterns. We actually need to fail, fast, and deliberately falter to understand other dimensions of life. We need to be silent instead of talking, experience emptiness instead of fullness, anonymity instead of persona, and pennilessness instead of plenty. In liminal space, we descend and intentionally do not come back out or up immediately.

From Sunday: “You must fall through fear into love.”

 Notre Dame: Cross still stands. Tragedy unites a city, even the world for a moment. A very real “descent” for Holy week.

Liturgy: It can’t be carried alone

  • Bell is rung for a moment of silence
  • Reading: Lamentations 3:1-20 with reflection
  • Grief ritual
    • “I am sad that…” Response: “We hear you”
    • “I fear that…” Response: “We hear you”
    • “I am angry that…” Response: “We hear you”
    • Call and response:

Call (Bryan):                           Take pity on me, God, I am in trouble.

Response (everyone):              My life is worn out with sorrow.

  • Reading: Luke 23:27-33 with reflection
  • Bell is rung three times for a closing prayer sit
  • Prayer for healing and forgiveness


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