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This yoga pose is called "Chataranga dandasana" or "four limbed staff pose". It is difficult, especially for women, be cause it requires upper body strength which we, often, do not have naturally. There are two ways of dealing with this. Firstly, we ca work at it until we can hold the pose or, secondly, we can do what we can do with our bodies and claim that that is the pose.


In yoga, as in life, it is hard to find and hold a pose, that balance between work and ease, and it takes practice. I was considering this as I thought about truth and lying this morning. Whilst we like to think of ourselves as honest many of us are not, at least not all the time. The way around thinking of ourselves as a liar is that we begin to construct truth in a different way. We spin relative truth around ourselves.


Saying something does not make it true, neither does thinking a thing should be different. There are truths which we need to work for - it is not true that everyone has food - should it be? There are truths which we need to stop ignoring. This Lent we may do well to notice our microaggressions against the truth, even as we find ourselves in an uncharted landscape where truth and expediency are confused with each other.

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Denial is not a very positive thought for most people. We can be denied entry or denied our rights. We can be in denial or deny the truth. Yet, during this season of Lent we talk about denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Jesus.


Many a psychological misfire comes from refusing to acknowledge how we are feeling and what is going on for us - so it does not seem likely that refusing to try to know and understand ourselves is the path to take. In fact, denying ourselves, involves letting go of on the surface living and striving for something much deeper. It is only when we begin to see our whole selves we can begin to let go of anything at all.


This is a work of prayer and discernment and this denial is not self-loathing, but rather of self-exploration; overcoming that part of us which wants to skim the surface rather than settle into the water of the pool.

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Today's Psalm at our main service will be Psalm 121. In it we are promised that God will keep us from evil. I wonder what evil actually means? Many centuries ago it just meant the worst of the worst, then in moved on to mean the morally absent.


I worry more recently that it has become a word which means "those people" - someone other and frightening, or actually destructive, is evil. If we are not careful there become classes of people who are, somehow, substantially different from us or through whom some supernatural being chooses to test everyone else. This sort of moral imperialism is dangerous and is precisely where genocide comes from. No doubt there are words and actions which are diametrically opposed to the Gospel, but are the people who engage in them intrinsically different?


The Old Testament is clear that one of God's demands is to refrain from moral elitism which writes off the needs of others, the orphan and the widow are usually mentioned. Perhaps one interpretation of being kept from evil is that when we look after each other society becomes more stable. Empires have fallen again and again because those in charge get too greedy and everyone else cannot support the weight of the structure. Israel was no different and neither are empires today. So what is evil - I do not think God is keeping us from each other - so what then?

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