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Posts from the ‘Easter’ Category

Easter Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Elizabeth Appell

“And why, you may ask, spend precious time searching for something as elusive as a soul? Why not leave it where it hides—near to us, yet so difficult to find and sometimes dangerous to follow? There are two reasons: First, you search for the soul for the sake of your own life—for purpose, for meaning, for strength, for freedom and peace and love. Second, you search for your soul for the sake of everyone else. You do it for your family, your children, your coworkers, the whole world. The world needs your originality, your ideas, your humor, your creations. All of this is alive and well within you, hiding somewhere near you, beneath the layers, down, down, down, into the soul.” — Marrow: A Love Story by Elizabeth Lesser

We forego the everlasting gift of Easter Sunday, if we neglect to carry it forward into Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…and each day going forward. Not just a drive-by holiday, the story of the Cross to resurrection is life-changing, world-changing.

That relief and lightness that people are feeling about getting the vaccine after going through year of a pandemic is but a glimpse of what Easter living offers, present in each day beyond frustrations, fleeting feelings and what the world says is true. That lightness will pass as we resume “normal” whatever that may be. We’ll replace it with the next worry, the next dilemma. It’s exhausting. The eternal light of God was, is and always will remain true and available to all freely, no matter what humans say, do, deny or pursue, thinking it can be found somewhere else. Somewhere else is here on Easter Monday.

To get to here, there is a lot of letting go of resentment, anger, unforgiveness, opinion, judgment, assumptions that shape our life and steal our joy, wonder and awe.

No one makes the decision but you so if you are all good, riding high and where you want to be, carry on, you’ve figured it out. If you’re struggling, searching and unsatisfied, Easter Monday is here and will remain no matter your choice. Consider your options. It is up to you.

“People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?” – Thich Nhat Hanh

The 15th Station

“EASTER MORNING The stirring wildness of God calls brittle bones to leaping and stone hearts to soaring. Old women dance among the stars.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

“In all ten directions of the universe, there is only one truth. When we see clearly, the great teachings are the same. What can ever be lost? What can be attained? If we attain something, it was there from the beginning of time. If we lose something, it is hiding somewhere near us.”― Ryokan

With a year of the pandemic, weekly church has been on YouTube, sitting on my couch drinking a cup of coffee. With more places opening and the vaccines getting out, I went to Good Friday’s Stations of the Cross “live” this year, all in attendance spaced appropriately with masks. Stations on Good Friday has been a tradition for years with my parents. My Dad will be gone five years on April 28 and as I sat through the service, I thought of the many times we went together.

There are 14 stations of the Cross that are reflected on and contemplated during the service:

  1. Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus takes up His cross
  3. Jesus falls the first time under the Cross
  4. Jesus meets His afflicted mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene is forced to take up the Cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls a second time
  8. Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls a third time
  10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
  11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross
  12. Jesus dies on the Cross
  13. The body of Jesus is placed in the arms of His Mother
  14. Jesus is laid in the tomb

The Lenten journey culminates today, Easter morning, in the glory of resurrection of Jesus. On Friday, the priest called the resurrection, the 15th Station.

We all have our own stations that we move through in life. The times we fall and keep getting up only to fall again. When we watch others suffer and can do nothing about it but be quietly present to witness and hold. When we help others, but complain about being interrupted and bothered like Simon, yet do it the same. When we are generous, wiping the face of another like Veronica. When we die to self again and again or cling tightly to offense, resentment and opinion, refusing to change and insisting others change instead. The 15th station is completed by the 14 stations that come before.

In our journey to the 15th station of resurrection, transformation, renewal, we do not walk alone for Jesus walked the path before us and remains with us in our journey if we choose to see.

Eternal spring, a well to return to again and again in our bewilderment, consternation and struggles. We are Easter people. Be changed and rise up. Happy Easter.

“AND THE GLORY The silence breaks into morning. That One Star lights the world. The lily springs to life and not even Solomon… Let it begin with singing and never end! Oh, angels, quit your lamenting! Oh, pilgrims, upon your knees in tearful prayer, rise up and take your hearts and run! We who were no people are named anew God’s people, for he who was no more is forevermore.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

Saturday

“We’re all born exactly who we are supposed to be, but we take these weird detours in order to fit in, or please others, or get our way, or just get by. We suffer wounds and build up scar tissue.”— Marrow: A Love Story by Elizabeth Lesser

If you know the full Easter story from Friday to Sunday, it means more this year if examined and applied to your own and our collective life. After a year of a pandemic, ongoing unrest, the anger of opinions and hatred of others different than “me,” we carry many crosses. With the mass distribution of vaccines, this Easter is different than the uncertainty of last Easter. We are in between Friday and Sunday, not where we were and not where we are going to be quite yet.

While I will get the vaccine for the rest, I am not putting my faith, hope and being into a vaccine to save the world. Jesus already saved the world. He saves us daily from our unbelief, fear and shallow living. It’s a matter of whether we choose to notice, do something about it and be changed.

While imperfect and often poorly executed, I put my faith and hope in God to save the world, not man. Today is the day in between crucifixion and resurrection. Linger here and allow it to touch your soul and transform your life. By the scars of Jesus, the empty tomb and the resurrection, our own scars can be softened to feel again, to be reborn and remade.

“SATURDAY SILENCE The shadows shift and fly. The whole long day the air trembles, thick with silence, until, finally, the footsteps are heard, and the noise of the voice of God is upon us. The Holy One is not afraid to walk on unholy ground. The Holy Work is done, and the world awaits the dawn of Life.” — Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

Sunday light and transformation are coming, has already come and remains to this very day. Hope over despair. Choose light, accept the darkness lingers and still choose light to overcome it.

Streams of Light

“The only road to Easter morning is through the unrelenting shadows of that Friday. Only then will the alleluias be sung; only then will the dancing begin.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

We look for shortcuts, ways around, a clear path, sunny days. Daily life is about going through, both the light and the dark, woven together. Seeing the streams of light in the clouds, trusting the sun remains, that it will rise and set.

This past year, the world has carried a heavy cross of a pandemic, of politics, of racism, of hatred. Darkness is a dead end, hatred begets more of the same, an abyss. Hope pulls us from despair and carries us to the other side.

Light, redemption, resurrection are real, overflowing and calling to each one of us. Light is the only sustaining choice to live in joy, equanimity and peace in an unrelenting world that keeps calling us to our worst selves. Choose light, life over death.

Streams of light are everywhere. Choose to be a beam in a world that longs for light yet still chooses to see the clouds alone. Cast light!

THE FEAR AND FEEDING OF THE SHEEP — Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

“We have nothing against Jerusalem; in fact, it’s the place to be on a sunny Easter morning.
It’s Golgotha that we fear; and yet, we’ve been to church enough to know that the way to Jerusalem leads through Good Friday.
Keeping covenant means keeping covenant under a cross as well as by an empty garden tomb.
What we’d like to do, of course, is wave palms and shout Hosanna and then rest up for the Hallelujah Chorus. We dismiss the others as religious fanatics, who wallow in the woe of Holy Week!
O Lamb of God, Lamb of God, Lamb of God, feed us!”

Seed Planting Time

“Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds.” – Norman Vincent Peale

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go.” – Martha Washington

The ground has softened, the grass turning green and the temperatures are in the 60s. Winter is bowing out and welcoming spring to the stage, front and center. Seeds ready to be planted. And so are you. What seeds are you planting in your mind, heart and spirit now?

It’s planting time, so start today. Plant seeds of hope, joy, optimism, discovery, gratitude, abundance, laughter, wonder and possibility.

“Each moment is perfect and heaven-sent, in that each moment holds the seeds for growth.” – Suzan-Lori Parks

What seeds are you planting now?

Over

Hope over fear.
Love over hate.
Joy over despair.
Light over darkness.
Peace over turmoil.
Kindness over spite.
Empathy over self.
Generosity over hoarding.
Ease over struggle.
Silence over noise.
Confidence over questioning.
Awe over indifference.
Deep over shallow.
Us over me.
Mystery over understanding.
Gratitude over complaint.
Rest over tumult.
Acceptance over shame.
Sweet over bitter.
Wonder over knowing.
Awake over sleep.
Slow over rushed.
Heaven over hell.

Present over past.
Present over future.
Just Present.

All is overcome today.
Resurrection over the Cross.
The playbook for living today already written.
The last word.
Knees to ground.

Happy Easter.

Easter-Eve

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

“Every day that is born into the world comes like a burst of music and rings the whole day through, and you make of it a dance, a dirge, or a life march, as you will.” – Thomas Carlyle

Allow the anticipation, the awe and the joy to enter, to become Easter people filled with hope, peace and optimism. Like a symphony when all of the instruments merge, intertwine and come together in beautiful music that lifts the very soul, take the enormity of Easter in. Open your arms, be held and hold it close. The last of winter may be hanging on a bit longer, but spring never misses its turn and summer stands in waiting.

Make each day a dance, a burst, a celebration. Easter shows us how.

No Ordinary Day

No pictures. Few words. This day. This Good Friday. This day is no ordinary day. My words cannot suffice, serve or go deep enough for the enormity and sheer relevance of this non-ordinary day – the day when, where and how Jesus saved the world from itself. This day is no ordinary day.

The one hymn by Mahalia Jackson that brings me to my very knees, to the core of being – a place where we need to spend more time – Where You There When They Crucified My Lord. Every single day, when I don’t notice another, when I judge and criticize, when I gossip, when I’m impatient and absent of empathy – I am there at the crucifixion. We need a bit more trembling.

“Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, were you there when they crucified my Lord? (Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble) tremble

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed him to the cross? Were you there when they nailed him to the cross? (Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble) tremble Were you there when they nailed him to the cross?

(Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble) tremble Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Well, were you there when the stone was rolled away? Were you there when the stone was rolled away? (Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble) tremble Were you there when the stone was rolled away?”

Crucified. Nailed. Laid in the tomb. Stone rolled away.

From crucifixion to rolling the stone three days later. I not only ponder and reverence the suffering of Jesus but of Peter who denied his best friend and Judas who blew it big time for 30 silver coins and could not accept forgiveness and redemption, and of Mary and the women who remained at the foot of the cross in angst, without fear and unmoved. No judgment or consternation, rather a prayer for rapt awareness, deep awakening and grace beyond human understanding to move through to the other side, to the high road, to the open space few are interested in occupying.

Today is the climax of Lent – the ultimate, unimaginable, unfathomable and undeserved, unearned pivot into the most important and relevant third act that changes the world even and especially today – the resurrection, the butterfly, the harvest. Stay in the crucifixion long enough to make it stick, to change your daily life and focus. The ending is the resurrection, the changing forever, the transformation of our very life in this moment and beyond.

In our lifetime, there has been no more relevant, sacred and holy Lent. Breathe it in. Be overwhelmed and overcome by the enormity. And open your arms wide to the mystery of the Cross. We are Easter people only through the suffering and transformation of Good Friday first.

No ordinary day, indeed. Take. It. In. 3 days. Prepare. Accept. Enter.

Glorious Light

“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum, in which men steal through existence, like sluggish waters through a marsh, without either honor or observation.” – Walter Scott

When is the last time that you used the word glorious? The brilliance of a full moon after a warm Spring day. The song of Good Morning from the sun returning to begin a new day. The smile of a child. The excitement of a dog chasing a ball. All simple, daily glorious gifts. We are abundantly blessed. Count what you do have right now rather than what’s missing.

Here are a few other words to add to your vocabulary – delight, awe, quiet, praise, reflection, patience, generosity, kindness, gratitude and grace which will get us through to the other side. While we’re on this side of uncertainty and fear, we can choose joy over misery while we wait in hope. Whether in misery or joy, we will arrive at the same destination. It’s just a matter of deciding how you want to move through the journey. I’m choosing joy. It’s a much better car to travel in.

Glorious light, cast it.

A Few of My Favorite Things

“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. – Steve Jobs

No matter the circumstances, we have a choice to lean in or bury our head, to smile or frown, to embrace or shun, to hold tight or let go. It is your choice. Suffering is optional.

Find and hold those people and things that rock your world and never let them go. They are here to show us the way. Hold tight through the storms.

We are so much bigger than the storms and stronger than the waves. Keep afloat, head up and find joy in today. For that is all we are promised. From Blake flying high to Liam’s morning zoom calls as my favorite remote worker, to Como Conservatory from the outside looking in to Sasha (Samoyed) and Abby (Golden Retriever) running full throttle through the woods on a spring, cloudy day, SEIZE this very moment and hold tight to your favorite things. Blessings in disguise.

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