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AfterWords | The Blessed Fall (October 2, 2022)

AfterWords is a series of community-contributed reflections intended to further the conversations that begin during Parish sermons.

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A 3-Minute Read
by Keely Darnell

Jordan covered a lot of foundational ideas this week, so if you missed this past Sunday, I encourage you to click the link above and listen to the podcast.

We have all heard the message before: you are bad and there is nothing good in you. Psychologists say that our brains naturally focus on the negative; that we are always scanning for danger. Maybe this is why that message sinks in so deep and maybe it keeps our brains and bodies in a self protective mode. We’re often looking for the negative, in ourselves and the world, and then we hear a similar message at church and believe it must be the full truth. We start in Genesis 3 and forget Genesis 1. We forget that at the beginning, and at the core, there is goodness.

And at the same time, we know there is real pain and evil in the world and also within ourselves. How do we hold both truths together without over exemplifying one and forsaking the other?

Jordan talked about the concept of Felix culpa: the blessed fall, and he quotes Julian of Norwich saying:

“First there was the fall, then we recover from the fall, both was the mercy of God.”

Attachment science tells us that children have a stronger bond with their caregiver if there is a rupture and then repair than if there was never a rupture at all.

As someone who often hurts people I love and as someone who has deep attachment wounds from my childhood, knowing rupture doesn’t have to be the final story, that there can be repair and that repair can make the relationship even stronger-that, is good news. What researchers are now learning about attachment is the good story that God has been telling us all along: rupture didn’t get the first word and it doesn’t get the last. And because God is so focused on union and relationship with us, He makes our rupture the very thing that creates a stronger bond between us and God.

And isn’t that God? Always in the business of making good things? Gently reminding us of the goodness of ourselves and inviting us to bring forth goodness in the world? Isn’t that what this wide, expansive, generous, creative, good story is all about?

In line with this truth of God, my spiritual director often quotes Macrina Wiederkehr to me:

“God help me believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is.”

We are created good, we rupture, Jesus repairs, and all of it is the mercy of God.

That is indeed, good news.

**Here are two great resources if you’d like to further explore attachment to God:
– a book by Krispen Mayfield titled Attached to God
– a podcast by Reverend Summer Joy Gross, a local Anglican Priest and Spiritual Director, titled The Presence Project

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