Some Thoughts on Maundy Thursday

IMG_4733Today I started sprouting some whole un-ground spelt. But, before I got started I decided to sort through the grains because there were these strange little black balls mixed in with the grains. At first I thought they were pepper, but on closer inspection there were not. (Aside: anyone know what they are? And why there were in my spelt?) Anyway, sorting through a bag of un-ground grains was a new experience for me. It was tedious and monotonous, but somehow it seemed like an appropriate activity for Maundy Thursday. As I sorted the grains it felt a little bit like I was engaged in a type of litany - A call and response between God’s heart and mine. Here are some of the thoughts that God brought up as I sorted the grains.

First, he reminded me that it is not my job to sort. It’s not my job to sort or judge anyone else’s life or heart, AND it’s not even my job to sort my own heart. I have a tendency to be very hard on myself. I want to be perfect and I want to be perfect NOW. I want to change how I act, and think, and feel. I want to change my heart and at times I WORK HARD at trying to do so. But, the truth of the Gospel is that I can’t change myself. I can’t purify my own heart. I can’t sort out all the “icky” stuff from my life. There is none holy, no not one. And I can’t fix myself.

The hope of the Gospel is that Christ is powerful to cleanse us. He stoops down and cleanses the disciple’s feet, washing them clean, purifying them. And he does the same for me. He is the one who sorts through my heart and weeds out all the impurities – all the shaft, rocks, bugs, and little black things that I can’t even recognize any more. I don’t need to cleanse myself, I don’t need to judge myself. He is the One Judge and he is merciful. He is the one who cleanses me and his hand is gentle. IMG_4735

Another thing happened while I was sorting. As I sorted through the grains, I noticed that some of them were broken. For a second I actually thought about sorting out all the broken pieces while I was sorting out the other stuff – I know CRAZY, right? But, there was a little part of me that wanted everything to be perfect and look perfect and uniform. I know it was ridiculous. Those broken pieces were perfectly good pieces of grain even though they didn’t look as nice or perfect as the whole pieces.

Then I heard God whisper… “Bethany, I don’t sort out the brokenness either. The broken pieces stay.” It struck me that when God is cleaning and purifying and sanctifying my life he slowly picks away the rocks, the dirt, the bugs, but he leaves the broken pieces. He leaves the wounds, the hurts, the scars, the places of my life that aren’t neat and clean and whole and perfect. Sometimes I wish he didn’t leave the broken pieces, but there is something beautiful about the fact that he does. He’s not wasteful. He may refine me but every bit of me that is worth keeping will be kept even if it looks a little broken or misshapen.

Oh, and his work is slow. He doesn’t sort and purify quickly. He doesn’t use a machine and haphazardly throw me into a standard system. He slowly picks up and looks at each grain of my heart. He sorts by hand – strong, yet gentle hands.

Search me, Oh God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Rejoicing in the journey- Bethany