Easter Sunday is over but the Easter Season is just beginning. We are invited to live a resurrected life. We are invited to fill our lives with the things that give life and share love.
Years ago we remodeled our home. We had to remove everything in order for the work to get done. When the house was finished I was determined that I would only bring in my favorite things, the necessary things, nothing more. And mostly it worked. The house is full of things that bring me delight, things that make me smile, remember, think.
My Lenten journey was like that, I cleared away a lot in my life, and now I’m bringing things back in. I’m bringing them in carefully and thoughtfully, things that bring me delight, that make me smile, remember, and think.
Lent was about reorienting myself in God’s care. Easter is about living that reorientation, that resurrection.
How will you live the resurrection in this season of new life?
I had such hope when I bought this container of plants. I had hopes for spring and beauty and warmth. I watered it and left it in the sun, but on the entry porch with no heat. It did well for awhile and then, all of a sudden, it drooped.
Hope is nothing without care and action. Hope alone, without caring, without engaging, without doing something with it, is useless. If I hope for the world to change and don’t do anything, it is pointless. If I hope for things to be different without doing anything to help, it is useless. If I hope to change myself but don’t take the first step, nothing will happen.
There is nothing I can do to bring Spring, but I can march on Saturday against gun violence, I can engage in spiritual practices to change my heart and life. I can engage the world to bring about the changes I hope for.
How will you engage your hope? How will you nurture it?
But, under the pavements trembling like a pulse…there will be something growing like a flower, something bursting from the earth again, forever deathless, faithful coming into life again like April.
Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again
It is March, almost Spring on the calendar, but we are covered in snow. It is beautiful and the snow days are lovely times to catch up on reading, playing, napping, baking, snowshoeing… but I’m ready for some bursting out of new life. I’m ready for Lent to be over. I’m ready for color and warmth.
Lent is 40 days for a reason, it is long enough to change our hearts and lives. It is long enough for us to feel a pause in our lives. It is long enough to reflect on how we might want to live differently. There is something under us, within us, trembling like a pulse of new life.
I hope you are looking for it, searching for it, maybe even finding it.
I sit in my prayer space surrounded by the glow of candlelight. I sit in my space and offer prayers for my friend and her husband facing one more surgery today, for the people on our prayer list, for the world and this country. I pray for those who have suffered from the last storm and will suffer with the one to come. I pray surrounded by the glow of candlelight in the quiet of the morning.
I sit in the quiet of the morning and I meditate, centering my heart and soul for whatever the day may hold. Resting myself in God’s care.
I do this every morning. Some days it is peaceful and some days I am twitchy, eager to start the day. But if I don’t sit, surrounded by candlelight or at least a moment of quiet, I am not centered on what is most important. A single candle will do. A moment of quiet will do.
God greets me in the silence and the light.
On Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday, we put out hearts that the youth group had made with the invitation for people to take them. They said things like “you are loved,” “you are beloved.” “you are blessed.” I have no idea how many were taken because we made a lot.
A week later I was walking down the street and there was this heart which had made its way down several blocks. I like to think that someone picked it up and carried it for awhile. I like to think that other people saw it on the sidewalk and noticed it. I like to think that at least one person or two, felt that they were loved.
That’s how it is, that’s how God’s love is, we carry it a block or two, a minute or two, and maybe someone else notices it. Maybe someone else feels it or knows it because we have carried it.
May you know yourself beloved and may others know it because of you.
Why spend money for what isn’t food,
and your earnings for what doesn’t satisfy?
Isaiah 55:2 (CEB)
Our theme for this Lenten Season is “Enough.” What is enough? What is enough money or time or energy or food or clothing…
The things I need to let go of, in this season and in life in general, are the things that fill me with empty calories – metaphorically and literally. It is easy to fill my life with the things that don’t satisfy. And when I fill my life with things, whatever they are, I don’t have the space to be filled with God, with peace, with joy, with concern, with sadness, with things that are real.
So, as I let go of things – facebook, shopping – I make room for prayer and even emptiness.
My prayer this Lent is “Fill me, O God.” A breath prayer for all of those moments when I need to center again. Breathing in “fill me” breathing out “O God.”
May you find emptiness in this season and fill it with grace.
Today is Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day. It is a day of love and repentance. It is a day of cards, candy, and ashes.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. It seems to me that we should be loving all year long and a card or candy won’t make up for a lack of love. On the other hand, it provides an opportunity to express love that perhaps hasn’t been expressed before. In 5th grade a boy wrote on my obligatory class Valentine, “I like you.” It was the same boy who slipped a cherished red marble into my collection.
Ash Wednesday is also an opportunity, it is a chance to reflect on our lives, to find new ways to show our love for God and our community. It is a chance to look at our lives in new ways, to express our faith in new ways. It is a chance to start afresh on our relationship with God.
How will you show love today to your loved ones, to your community, to God?
Waiting expectantly for snow…We all listen to the reports and make decisions about our days. This one wasn’t supposed to be more than a hassle, no runs to the grocery store. Just enough to inconvenience us. I will admit that other than some of the hassles of the decisions, I love a storm. I love the free time that it brings.
A friend in California said that some New England transplants out there really missed having a snow day, a day without responsibilities, a day for reading or napping or baking or playing. Without snow days, or even partial snow days, we don’t stop for the serendipitous moment.
I hope everyone is safe. I also hope that you had a serendipitous moment of doing something that wasn’t on the calendar.
I recently returned from my vacation in New Mexico, place of my heart. For several mornings this was perch, coffee in hand, waiting for the sunrise. It was really too cold to sit for long, even in my down robe, wrapped in blankets, but I did it because it filled my soul. It was worth it to watch my breath rise, to hear the ravens, and watch the scurry of critters.
It is so important to find the ways that our souls are filled and then to do them. All around us are things that vie for our attention, important things and less important things. The news swirls around us, life swirls around us, busyness swirls around us. Somewhere in the center we need to find God, we need to find peace.
I hope you have a place – a chair or a stretch of the bike path, a tree you watch or a coffee shop – that centers you. I hope you find the time to be there and breathe.
Life needs a pause. Life needs grace. Life needs peace.
May you blessed ~
Walking along the bike path in the morning cold, the light was lovely. People were still walking their children and their dogs in the chill. People were still riding their bikes (Paul Rubel), and in the sunlight the word “Hope” was illuminated.
On a crisp, chilled morning, there was still hope to be found. On a crisp, chilled morning, there was beauty to be found. There is an art to looking for hope and beauty in a world that is full of ugliness and despair. Actually, mostly it takes opening our eyes to the possibilities, opening our hearts to love and light.
There is beauty in the faces of those around us. There is beauty on the bike path and on the street. There is beauty within and around us if we are open to it.
There is hope, too. Someone said:
Do not be afraid
of what you believe
be afraid of not believing
Do not be afraid
of what you hope
be afraid of not hoping
Do not be afraid
of what you love
be afraid of not loving