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Lenten Devotional: Wednesday, Feb. 14
"Already and Not Yet" - Andover Newton's Lenten Devotional Series

"Already and Not Yet" is the 2018 Lenten Daily Devotional written by members of the Andover Newton community, which is also being shared at Facebook and on Twitter. Future posts here will include links to all the previous entries for easy browsing to any you might have missed or might want to revisit.

Feb. 14, 2018 (Ash Wednesday)
“A Prescription for Lent” – S. Mark Heim

A friend from Yale Medical School and I taught a course together last year. We read Victoria Sweet’s book, God’s Hotel, where the cutting edge clinical wisdom comes from the twelfth century saint Hildegard of Bingen, who focused on getting out of the way of the body’s healing processes. Sweet calls this “slow medicine,” and learned to combine it with the “fast medicine” she acquired in medical school. She made this connection working in a hospital where the sick and poor of San Francisco clustered in a residence of last resort. Because they weren’t going anywhere, Sweet could think slow. She witnessed patients marvelously healed by “treatments” like peeling away multiplied medications, deciphering their thick medical records, listening to personal and spiritual aspirations, and, most of all, waiting and watching the outcome of one thing before trying another. The wonder drug she offered was the time to pay attention. Faith, friendship, and love rarely cure the things that kill us quickly. They are sovereign remedies for what kills us by inches.

Lent is a season of slow spiritual medicine. Its clear-eyed diagnosis of reality starts on Ash Wednesday (we are dust and to dust we shall return). It proceeds with a work up of all the chronic inflammations and degenerations blocking joy and community in our lives and world (via honest personal examination and social reflection). It administers the ultimate non-invasive medication (prayer and solidarity in the Body of Christ). The season is long, there is no hurry. And the Doctor is in.

S. Mark Heim (ANTS MDiv ’76) is Visiting Professor of Theology, Yale Divinity School, and Samuel Abbot Professor of Christian Theology, Andover Newton at Yale.

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