I realized that it’s only fitting that I started blogging again yesterday during Lent, because as history serves, Lent has lent (I just can’t help with the puns…you know Easter is on April Fools, right?!) a good portion of inspiration.
So I’ve compiled, just in time for Good Friday, a dose of Lenten posts for your contemplative reading.
I pray that this season has been meaningful and full for you and that you find so much comfort and hope and peace even at the sight of our wounded savior on the cross. May we linger on that cross and the grave with renewed passion and waiting and expectation of the hope to come on Easter Sunday. Amen.
It sounds so simple, this business of trusting God.
But even when I’m wracked with uncertainty and brutally aware of my own need for God, I often fail to understand how exactly we go about being faithful. Even as I strive to know and trust God with my present and my future, I discover that once again I’m going about it all wrong.
I’ve placed my trust in earthly things instead of in who God is, has been, and always will be.
When we’re reticent to truly trust God, our vision is limited. We place our trust in human endeavors–promotions, houses, even people–but earthly securities are but illusions. They crumble, they fall, they fail us. At those moments of despair we often cry out to God, feeling betrayed.
But it is God whom we have betrayed.
We’ve put our trust, our devotion, and our service in the things of this world instead of our creator, redeemer, and sustainer. And when God doesn’t have our whole trust and our whole lives, God can’t grant us the vision and possibilities and promises that lie beyond our own limited perspective and imagination.
I heard a great sermon yesterday challenging us to faithfully cast out our nets as the disciples do in the last chapter of John and trust Jesus to fill them with provision that defies common sense.
But we’re so stubborn.
We human beings cling to our common sense like it’s all there is, like we’d rather settle for our own plans and dreams and ideas rather than God’s expansive vision. Have the Biblical stories taught us nothing? Has the promise of Easter fallen on deaf ears? Do we truly believe Christ has been raised from the dead, and with him, we, too have been given eternal life?
I’m realizing that living as Easter people means risking the earthly things for the eternal ones, and relying on God to provide possibilities that we cannot fathom or imagine, but that we earnestly trust come from the hand of the creator, redeemer, and sustainer who never fails us. For me, this requires daily commitment. It requires me to continually let go of my plans, however seemingly perfect, and find rest and peace in who God is. My restlessness, in fact, is a good sign to me usually that I’m relying on my own vision rather than seeking God’s.
So may you find rest in who God is, has been, and always will be this morning. May you seek eternal rather than earthly things, and may you be raised alongside Christ to taste and see the possibilities that only God has in store for you and your life. Amen.
It’s been a fabulous weekend celebrating my husband’s 35th birthday and enjoying the company of lots of friends and the lovely spring weather in NJ. In addition to a photo from one of those lovely walks with the babe, here are some great stories and posts around the internet for your enjoyment this weekend:
“The Five Lessons of Good Friday,” a great article to ponder during Eastertide: I love the nuanced points about suffering and the proclamation that suffering does not have the last word! For my own reflections on how to live in light of Easter, see last year’s post, “Holy everything.”
On the subject of men, women, and the workplace, “The Confidence Gap,” was a lengthy, but good read about what may be holding women back.
Nothing has changed in the Biblical story, so how do I account for what feels so different, so breathless, so heavy, so alive about Easter this year?
Last Sunday as the pastor stood in the pulpit, she reminded us that for Christians, we have no tomb, no cross, no holy place, hill, mount, or edifice to go to pay homage to Jesus, but that we ourselves are the embodiment of the resurrection, the Living Stones (1 Peter 2), the Easter people. There are no holy places and so in resurrection, we are made holy people.
But our pastor also stepped off a white-cloaked altar into the sea of faces dressed in their best that morning and invited us to share our joys and concerns like we do on ordinary Sundays. We were reminded that in earnest celebration there is still loss, and fear, and pain.
I think it’s this fact that accounts for the fullness of this season for me, the fact that the communion we take symbolizes not only life, resurrection, and the miraculous, but human brokenness, betrayal, and violence. Likewise, the Easter story we celebrate leaves the women and the disciples not only full of hope and promise, foreshadowing the incredible growth of the church in history, but also anguished by the death of their savior, and bewildered and fearful at the sight of an empty tomb, a dwindling faithful, and an impossible truth.
This Easter I’m reminded that God doesn’t change, but the resurrection changes us, often and endlessly.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.”
We don’t become Easter people in a flash, jubilant and freed from this world, but we become Easter people when holiness leaves the altar, the cross, the tomb, and steps firmly into our midst and settles into our bodies and life rhythms. Our circumstances don’t necessarily change, we still look like the flawed people that we are, but we become Easter people when our hearts, our eyes look upon this world and find everything holy. We become Easter people when we behold what is holy in one another as though we are making a pilgrimage to somewhere sacred, because the Kingdom of God is here, in you and in me. We become Easter people when we stop parsing what’s God and what isn’t and relish that the Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it. We become Easter people when death is always with us, and yet, we experience life anew.
We become Easter people each time spring and hope return to a desperate world, and we’re left full, changed, and holy.