Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Morning Meditation - Where's the grace?
"We have all probably had at least one time in life when we came to that depth of despair, when we pondered the deepest question that I believe all religion must address: Am I willing to live?"
Rebecca Ann Parker, Blessing The World, p.109.
I like Rebecca Ann Parker. She is a Unitarian Universalist theologian and has been President of Starr King School of Ministry and one time tried to kill herself which she openly describes in her writing.
My ex-wife was involuntarily psychiatrically hospitalized four times after our two children were killed for suicidal ideas and behavior.
The thought has crossed my mind from time to time. What religion can help with this kind of despair?
As a Catholic, I was taught suicide was murder and I would go to hell. My ex-wife wanted to kill herself to be with her dead children and I told her if she killed herself she would go to hell and the children were in heaven so this plan wouldn't work. When I called the priest to consult with us and she asked him if she would go to hell if she killed herself he said "no" and undid all my work, but she seemed better after that and I understand, in his compassion why he said what he said to her pastorally, but his theology was heretical.
It is ironic how the manifestation of God's grace and love is often heretical. Jesus did it when he told the old farts that they couldn't stone the adulterous woman even though the law prescribed it.
Perhaps the antidote for despair is paradox, the awareness of the absurdities and incongruities and the ironies of life. This awareness makes us laugh or deepens our reverence and our gratitude for the grace which seems divine.
"Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a poor wretch like me. I once was lost and now I am found, was blind but now I see."
Does Unitarian Universalism believe in grace? I have never heard a sermon preached in a UU church on this topic. Maybe that's why the denomination is dying, killing itself slowly, sinking into insidious despair with no antidote.