Rejection and Acceptance

by Kathy on March 18, 2014 · 4 comments

in Blessed, Books, Coping, Faith, Game Changers, Healing, Hope, Life, Love, Peace, Quotes, Relationships, The Bible

Lent: Week Three "Drink of the Water of Life"

It’s the third week of Lent and for the third time, this Lenten season, a small group of women from our parish gathered to share our faith and discuss the Gospel reading we will hear at church on Sunday.

We have met every Tuesday evening at our home, around our dining room table. Over 20 other small faith sharing groups from our parish have also been meeting weekly this Lent, as part of a new program we call Companions on the Journey. As member of our parish’s Adult Faith Formation Commission, it has been awesome to help develop and offer this to our faith community.

Each week a guide-book, we have used to facilitate our discussion, suggests how to set the environment for our gathering. At first I found this to be a bit annoying and time-consuming, but now I look forward to the challenge of finding things that go with each week’s theme for our table.

Tonight we read John 4:5 – 42. For those who are not familiar with this Gospel reading or haven’t visited it in a while, it’s the story of Jesus, a Jewish man, meeting a Samaritan woman at a well outside of her village.

It is a long reading and at face value, as mentioned in our discussion guide, some may see it as a tale about “sexual morality,” as the woman is said to have had five husbands. However, the authors of Open our Hearts: A Small-Group Guide for an Active Lent (Cycle A), Donna L. Ciangio, O.P. and Thomas B. Iwanowski, suggest that is a parable about rejection and acceptance.

I appreciate their perspective and the conversation it sparked among the women in our group. Reading the Gospel together, followed by the authors’ thoughtful reflection and discussion questions, encouraged us think about the times we have felt rejected or excluded others from our lives.

How did we feel?

How did we cope?

As a group we made the connection between our belief that God accepts us for who we are, as we are and where we are, throughout our lives, and how we feel called to do the same for others.

As Ciangio and Iwanowski say in their reflection on John’s Gospel,

The woman who had gone to the well rejected, alone, and disrespected, returns to village transformed, telling her fellow Samaritans about the marvelous Jewish prophet she had met. She becomes the one through which they come to Jesus. They too are accepted. They too come to know “this truly is the savior of the world.”

This Gospel reminds us that the Lord Jesus also met us at a “well” when we were plunged into the living waters of baptism. During this Lenten season, the Lord invites us to draw ever closer to him, for as he said, “I will not reject anyone who comes to me.” (John 6:37).

What I took away from tonight is our call, as Christians (and human beings), to be Christ to each other — to share God’s love, light, hope, grace, peace and acceptance.

Rejection is painful.

It hurts, a lot.

As we strive to heal from our experiences with rejection and exclusion, I pray that we find comfort in God’s love, light, hope, grace, peace and acceptance, as well as through our relationships with others.

It is difficult at times to feel grateful for and to focus on those in our lives who feed us, as opposed to the eaters.

To and for those who do not share our Christian/catholic faith, as human beings, I believe we can still share love, light, hope, grace, peace and acceptance.

During this Lenten season, wherever this post finds you, and whatever you believe, I send healing thoughts and prayers your way.

I hope and pray you feel accepted for who you are and that you are able to accept others in your life, without judgement.

I know it is easier said, than done.

We are all works in progress.

I also hope and pray that we all can be more kind to, patient with, and accepting of, ourselves.

Take care and may God bless you and yours.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Keiko March 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Oh Kathy, it’s so special to read such an intimate part of who you are here. Just really special and beautiful. Your post makes me long for the days I used to engage in Torah study, pondering that week’s Torah portion and where it fit into my life just then.

Healing and love to you, too.
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2 Kathy March 18, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Thank you so much, Keiko. I really appreciate your kind words and validation, as well as you sharing your past experience.

I never want to force my faith on anyone and at times am hesitant to write about it in depth here on my blog. As my Jewish “sister,” I am grateful that you embrace me sharing this, as I do when you write and share about your faith and life.

I read your powerful post this morning on my phone and am heading over now to re-read and comment on it. xoxo
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3 Justine March 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm

I’ve always loved this story, because I’ve seen myself in the Samaritan woman, and I was so touched by the gesture of acceptance and love. It’s informed a great part of who I am, even if I don’t always remember the converse, that I am just as accepted, by someone, and that acceptance–not rejection–is what counts. Thank you for sharing this.
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4 Kathy March 28, 2014 at 2:07 pm

You are welcome, Justine. Thank you for sharing what you love about this story and how you feel connected to the Samaritan woman. I agree that it helps all of us to be reminded of these things from time to time.
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