How did the Tub get its Bottom?

Tonight we have 646 Lenten Vespers at… you guessed it 646 pm. It is a lovely quiet prayer service. It has been a blessing throughout Lent to pray with folks in the quiet of the St Aidan’s Sanctuary. It’s been life giving to have Josie play for us each week and bring the music of Taize as a prayerful part of our praying.

Each week our Vespers is followed by a book study. This year, as I have noted in previous reelections, we are reading Diana Butler Bass; book Grounded.

Tonight we discuss two chapters of the book — Sky, and Roots. In re-reading these chapters today, I was struck by these words of Quaker author Howard Brinton:

A common modern American way of thinking which holds that every tub stands on its own bottom, that every man is an isolated individual and responsible for his own ability and character is not true biologically, psychologically, or spiritually. Those who have preceded us are bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, and we can no more separate ourselves from them then a plant can separate itself from its roots.

We are a people obsessed with being self made. ‘Every tub stands on its own bottom!’ That’s a great turn of phrase. The truth is, of course, that none of us arrived at where we are in this moment on our own. We are not isolated at all. Our character, for better or worse, has been shaped by many people.

As I pray at vespers tonight, I will make a point of remembering those, living and dead, who have been important in shaping me. I have many who have hoisted me on their backs over the years and continue to do so today. I live among the community of saints.

How have you been shaped by others? Whose shoulders have you stood on? Who is bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh? For whom do you give thanks?


As always…. I welcome your feedback….

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