It seems that Lent is a time of giving up more than just sweets or between meal snacks. This is my third Lent and I have found that each year I feel drawn to (permanently?) let go of something in my life. It is a time when the little pieces of my life which are no longer beneficial get flushed out of hiding, exposed to the light of Love.
So, yesterday, I think I did my last professional tarot reading.
Here's the thing. It's not that I think the cards are inherently sinful or dangerous. (They are just cardboard, after all...) But there is the potential for sin when people are substituting a reading with me for a closer relationship with God. I realized at some point that the cards could so easily become an idol for someone. It was that very fact that prompted me, last Easter, to quit reading at the bookstore I used to work at. So often people would come in with all kinds of issues and would be looking to me and the cards for the answers. And most of the time I wanted to tell them that they needed to either get therapy or go to church. Or both.
In the OT, God gets mighty angry with people when they practice divination. I think this is because it suggests that they are NOT trusting in God. It means that they have tried to take matters into their own hands and are refusing to align themselves with God's will. They weren't willing to be patient and wait for God to take action. As humans, it is our nature to try and do everything for ourselves. We try and live our lives as if we are in control of them. Or, we surrender control to something outside ourselves. If that something is God, then no problem. But so often, that outside something is not God, and that is when we get into trouble.
I stopped reading cards for myself when I became a Christian because they no longer had much to say that I wasn't already getting from a direct relationship with God. And I realized that they were an instrument of my impatience to know what God had in mind about something. If I truly trusted in God, the cards were, in effect, redundant.
So yesterday I had a talk with the woman who owns the wellness center where I was scheduled to read. Here's the funny thing: I had a hard time being honest with her. I started to tell her all kinds of BS about being too busy and not having the time and on and on... Until I finally just looked at her in the eye and told her that I didn't feel comfortable doing it anymore. That I felt I was potentially doing more harm than good. That it conflicted with my sense of how God wants me to serve him.
Which isn't to say that this is true for everyone.
But for me, reading Tarot cards for money is just one more thing I am giving up at Lent.
OK. Complete non sequitor:
I found out at church this morning that one of the parishes I visited last fall might be merging with us. They have been shrinking in numbers and are apparently having a tough time staying afloat. I have very mixed feelings about the news. On one hand I am excited that they might be coming over. I really like the people I met there, and would have gone back for another visit if they had had childcare. I also really like the Rector and seem to have crossed paths with him several times over the last few months. But I am also deeply saddened for them. This is a 100+ year old parish coming to an end, and I know they must be going through deep grief and pain over this. The Rector probably feels terrible. The parishoners must be crushed. It must be very hard to trust that this loss is somehow part of the Big Plan.
I ask you all to keep the Church of the Messiah in your prayers.
We don't know your plans.
We have no idea where you are taking us on this journey. Give us the grace to be patient. To wait for you to reveal your truths in your own time. Give us the grace to be fearless in the face of loss and to be willing to hear your messages in our hearts, even when you ask us to give up what we have loved. What we have cherished.
Give the people of Messiah strength, Beloved.
Give the people of Grace the strength to be welcoming hosts.