I started the third Sunday of Lent 2017 at Good Shepherd Episcopal. Somehow, the third week of Lent got away from me and so this post is a little late.
The Gospel reading that morning was about Jesus and the Woman at the Well. As love featured prominently in the sermon, the preacher began with, “In the name of the Lover, the Beloved, and Love Overflowing.” This might seem heretical from the point of view of Christianity in general and Episcopalainism in particular, but such a blessing really spoke to me. But, I’m a Christo-Pagan. Though the idea of a deific “Lover” often seems to have sexual connotations in Pagan frameworks, here it seemed to encompass more than that one type of love. It seemed to me that the deific Lover here was the embodiment of all forms of love.
A common response in many of the Pagan rituals I’ve attended and led has been, “In perfect love and in perfect trust.” This is often said at the end of a ritual when the gods and spirits are being thanked: “Stay if you will, go if you must, in perfect love and in perfect trust.” This love and trust is the basis of a faith community. I bring this up because that evening I attended a 12-step meeting for Pagans, and it was an “all-A” meeting.
While I’m still new to 12-step Spirituality, I’ve had many friends work through such programs. Love of the community is a key factor in supporting one another. And, trust is vital, too, when one considers what is shared in meetings. But at the same time, I know that there are those Pagans who struggle with the concept of being “powerless.” We generally believe that we have the power within us. But, our addictions and codependencies interfere with our ability to access and use our power. Therefore, we must trust in the love of our gods and guiding spirits to be our higher powers, aiding us to overcome what ails us.
Love and Trust might seem more compatible than Christianity and Paganism. But I don’t care. My path works for me. If other mortals can walk it with me, that’s great. If not, well, I know my path overlaps with the paths of others. We can love and trust each other as we wander through our wastelands, looking for liberation.
Amen, and Blessed be.