Reading Soren Kierkegaard's Sickness Unto Death this morning, his thoughts struck deeply. In the section defining sin, he talks about the extraordinariness, and in fact absurdity, of a human standing before God in intimate relationship and how this notion is rejected by some because it is immoderate: they would like just enough of God to make themselves feel better, but not so much as to lose who they believe themselves to be. This notion of moderation is widely regarded as wisdom and is accepted as such without due consideration. This notion is hogwash.

I am reminded of a prayer Jonalyn Fincher taught us in her Ruby Slippers talk at a Talbot women's lunch last academic year. At this lunch, she had us write down as many self-descriptors as we could muster: characteristics, skills, jobs, relationships, sins. She then had us pray the list, by saying, "I am not _____." When we had completed our list, we finished the prayer, "I am a naked soul, standing before my Father, clothed in the righteousness of Christ."

Praying that prayer, I begin to understand something of who I am--not with the intellect only, but also with the affections--and that my identity (my true self) is understood only in a relationship of "humble courage before God" (as Kierkegaard would say).

As I examine my self this moment, it is clear that I only understand the barest outlines of my self and my God and that my own willfulness stands in the way.

God, help me.

Related Link: Nine Consolations, Rev. Thomas Brooks


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