Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Week III - Day 3 - The Cleansed Cup

I could smile and say, "At least I am not
this stained!" Couldn't I???
Create a in me a clean heart, O God! Enjoy these moments of worship: Psalm 51 - Keith Green

Detox Herbs
I must admit that one of the first things that came to mind as I began reading Joyce's confession on her stained cup was "detox." This seems to have become a popular means of "feeling better" the last few years. While I do not know a lot about detoxing I know there are a variety of the ways suggested to accomplish detox.  Some with little or no effort on the part of the individual.  I suspect that where there is no effort required, little will be accomplished.

Joyce writes, "I know that I need to be regularly cleansed from inner stains that keep me from living as a loving person...the day-to-day grime that collects when I do not pay attention on a deeper level." (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p. 75)

In other words...I need detoxing, but I have a feeling it will take more than wearing special pads on my feet to accomplish this cleansing.

Joyce continues, saying, "One of the paradoxes about inner stains is that while the stains must be recognized and attended, love for one's self must continue fully....It is the knowledge that I am capable of much greater goodness that creates a desire in me to change."

In a few weeks many churches will reenact  Jesus washing the Disciples' feet. What has always struck me when I have seen this reenacted was the care and love the Jesus figure gave to the one whose foot he was washing.  It has never been a once over...and move on.  Time and care are always displayed...and tenderness.

I wonder what I might discover if  I approached cleansing my inner stains the way the Church depicts Jesus washing the feet of the Disciples?  I wonder what I might learn if I handled my heart in the way I imagine Jesus caressing Peter's feet?  Or...Judas' feet?

    Breathing in: Create in me...
    Breathing out:...a clean heart, O God.

Sit with your cup in your hands.
Notice if your cup is stained or not.
Ask God to help you see one inner stain of yours.
Be still and wait for this awareness to arise.
Whether it is stained or not, take your cup to a sink.
Prayerfully wash it with soap and water.
As you do so pray to be cleansed of what sullies your spirit.

Scripture: Psalm 51

As I reflect upon my life, I see that I regularly need cleansing of... because...
When I think of my stains that are irremovable, I...
Thank you, God, for...

I had to look up the word "sullies" was not in my list of common words. Merriam Webster says,
1. Damage the purity or integrity of, defile.
2. Make dirty.

I have already learned something new today...."sullies."

When I think of stains that are irremovable, I have a slight knee jerk.  If I have inner "stains" should I not try to get them cleaned remove them?  Maybe if "I" work really hard....maybe if I bring out some kind of harsh cleanser...

Joyce says she continually prays for guidance so that she will know what stains need some spiritual elbow grease and which ones are part of the "character" of my being.

This is a difficult suggestion for me to get at this moment.  It is something I will continue thinking about as I go through my day.  I am not sure what Joyce is saying.  "Stains."  Would that be physical, mental, emotional elements of our "character" that cannot be cleaned away?  I suspect this will be a question for the Wednesday Lunch Bunch today.

Thank you, God, for the women who join me on Wednesday to share this journey.  Thank you for Joyce and her insights and gifted way to articulate some hard truths.  God, teach me more about these inner stains of mine.  Open my heart so I might learn more of what is keeping me from wholeness and then, God...give me the courage to step forward from there.  God, send companions to walk alongside me, to encourage me and to hold me accountable as I strive to become a healthy version of "ME."  AMEN.

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