Day 32 : Thursday 30 March

Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.

| Genesis 17.3-9 | Psalm 105.7-11 | John 8.51-59 |

Yurii Nagulko

Yurii Nagulko, "Autumnal planet".

15th Century Ukrainian Orthodox chant of Kyrie Eleison. Lord have mercy. Kyiv Chamber Choir.

from: Rowan Williams, “Sinners.” In Joan Chittister and Rowan Williams. Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2014. (Continued from Day 31, yesterday.)

The sinners I appreciate are the ones who look at their situation and ask, “How did it come to this?” Here are people I love or at least care about a bit—yet I seem to have damaged them, and to go on damaging them. Here is a plan that began with high ideals, and now it’s bogged down in compromises and failures. Unless I choose to pretend that all’s Well, I have to ask, “How?” A sinner who has woken up is someone who knows he has some learning to do, who knows at least a little bit what to do with the time left. It’s not straightforward, and we’re not going to learn what we ought to learn by our own resources according to a- tidy plan (which would just get us back to where we started). But the important thing is that bewilderment about how we got here and the sense of the world being bigger and stranger than my planning mind.

It’s what an earlier generation would have called humility. Yet again, the word has been almost ruined. The pictures it calls up for us are of hypocritical and exaggerated ways of putting yourself down—of being passive in the face of injustice, or of so distrusting yourself that you won’t take adult responsibility or risk making a mistake. But the questioning I’ve been trying to describe is anything but passive, and it needs the most difficult kind of responsibility. It means that I take responsibility for my integrity, that I go on examining my relation to the truth when it would be more comfort— able (on the surface, anyway) not to. Humble people can start revolutions.

(Continues on Day 33, tomorrow.)

May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.