Editor’s Note: Contributor Christine Moughamian is blogging each day of Lent about her progress becoming “one brave Christian.” Follow her experiment on Twitter @1bravechristian.
Read scripture. Write post. Tango!
To stick with this schedule, I started my “brave Christian” prayer and meditation practice early this morning. I was tired but excited about taking a tango class at noon with my boyfriend.
After I read Isaiah, chapter 1, my mood went from love and joy to gloom
– Isaiah 1:11
“Of what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me? says the LORD.”
– Isaiah 1:13
“Bring no more vain offerings to me… I do not eat that which is obtained wrongfully, and taken by force.”
– Isaiah 1:15
“And when you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood.”
The old prophet had a way with words.
By the time I finished reading Isaiah’s exhortation to Israel, I was overwhelmed. It seemed to me that everywhere I looked, I saw nations engaged in war, people worshiping the false idols of money, fame and material possessions.
“Didn’t the whole world turn the clock back 2,000 years?” I asked myself.
I couldn’t help but feeling like a little girl unable to enjoy her birthday cake because of all the starving children in the world.
I couldn’t distance myself from the intensity of the scripture. I couldn’t follow Sam Teague’s instructions to “Write out in less than fifty words how this passage applies to your life.”
I decided to sit in silent meditation, eyes gazing at the candle flame on my altar.
After a while, it came to me.
My job was not to fix the problems of the world. My job was to write out how the scriptures applied to my life right now. Before I could do that, I had to go on with my Saturday morning practice: Kundalini and Ashtanga yoga.
My body felt heavy, my mind cluttered. My stomach was growling.
I couldn’t imagine turning my body upside down in Downdog, let alone achieving lift-off to jump between postures. I considered skipping yoga to eat and write sooner.
“No, I’m not going to give in to temptation,” I told myself. “There’s always going to be another excuse. Breathe, move and let yoga do the rest.”
Breath by breath, I stirred myself out of inertia. Stretch by stretch, I stood up, turned my body upside down in Downdog. Still, lift-off seemed a far, remote possibility. I was about to rule out jumping through when I remembered yesterday’s scripture: “I will.”
“I will,” I said out loud. “Lift!”
With a breath in, I lifted my body off the floor and jumped through my arms. I landed lightly, then shouted with joy “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
And then, I knew.
I saw how the scriptures applied to my life.
Before I’d even started my practice this morning, I’d worshiped the false god of self-doubt and defeat. My hands were stained with the blood of hopes for a better world sacrificed on the altar of guilt.
From then on, I stayed focused on my breath. I finished my practice in a breeze. I felt light as a bubble, strong as a mountain.
Afterwards, I went back to Isaiah:
– Isaiah 1:16
“Wash yourselves clean.”
– Isaiah 1:17
“Learn to do good.”
Then I realized I had not even come to the selected scripture of the day, Isaiah 58:9:
“Then you shall call and the LORD shall answer you; you shall cry, and he shall say, Here I am.”
So in fifty words or less, this is what I write out about how this passage applies to my life:
“I believe in God the Good expressing through me today as dancing with my boyfriend.
I’ll even play prophet and make a prophecy: we’ll have fun with tango!”