Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all
things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of
lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided
and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together
under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP p. 236)
This coming Sunday is Recovery Sunday in our diocese. After a long hiatus we have given congregations the option of celebrating recovery and calling the church to awareness in the area of substance abuse and addictions.
After I had suggested the date to the Bishop I realized it was Christ the King Sunday. If there is anything that most of the folks that I know in recovery are not it would be abounding in triumphalism in the broadest sense of the word. The more I prayed on it and found something in the texts to link to the work of recovery and powerlessness I became less sure that the path would emerge. Thank God my darling wife read the collect to me. The path began to emerge in a real and tangible way.
If there was any way to describe my state at the end (please God) of my drinking, it was “enslaved by sin.” I sometimes felt that Paul’s words in the letter to the Romans “15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” were written just for me. Sin, for me was not the act of drinking so much as it was making consistent and irrational choices to do the very thing that left me feeling spiritually dry, arid and separate from all that is good, holy and true.
Any day that I don’t drink now is a triumph that can only be realized if I know, in thought and action, that I cannot remain sober on my own will. When I came into the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous I really started to understand what it meant to “be freed and brought together under God’s most gracious rule.”
The only door I have found to the freedom that sobriety has brought to my life and the lives of those I love has been when I admit my powerlessness over only three areas of my life—People, Places and Things. Other than that I’m on it.
So, on the cusp of the Feast of Christ the King, I pray that I can continue to ‘turn it over’ to God’s most gracious rule. Sometimes it’s a day at a time. Mostly, though, it’s moment by moment. I cannot begin to tell you the kind of freedom I have come to experience by allowing God to be God so I don’t feel tempted to take the reins of my unruly will back.
1 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ro 7:15). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.