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Posts tagged ‘Easter’

First Day

“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.” – William Penn

“Hidden life under the sea, under the ground, under the skin. The buried marrow in my bones and the secret stories in my heart. What are we supposed to see and hear, show and tell? Are things hidden for our own good, or is the human journey about going into the shadows and searching for the deeper truths about ourselves and each other, about life itself?”— Marrow: A Love Story by Elizabeth Lesser

We want to get to the Third Day and bypass one and two, to our Easters, victory, light, spring, joy, peace, butterflies. The only way to the Third Day begins with Day One – our Good Fridays, the crosses we bear, the struggles, the angst and pain. But darkness is not the end of the story. We must push through the middle to get to the other side. Hope is both the flashlight and lighthouse for our journey.

“NO DANCES There are no dances for dark days. There is no music to bellow the pain. The best we can do is to remain still and silent and try to remember the face of God… and how to kneel and how to pray.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

In our Good Fridays, we are not alone because of the Cross that Jesus bore for us all, not only Christians, for all humanity, every person. Lay down the labels, divisions, constraints of religion and rules that humans create to consider the immensity of the Cross in a new light for your own life. Open to what this day does and can mean to how you live daily. Read the story, allow it into the realm of possibility.

“LOST AND FOUND As we approached Jerusalem the crowd stood at the gate and cried in tear-choked voice: “We are lost in his death.” Upon the hill the angels sang: “We are found in his rising.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

In the process of transforming from caterpillar to butterfly, the chrysalis turns to liquid before it is rebuilt and transformed into a butterfly. The same matter in a new form is recreated and made new. Today, choose to die to old thinking and ways, melt and release the struggle, the burdens. Invite God into your heart to do His butterfly work in you. Moving from the cocoon and the tomb to the redemption and resurrection of the Third Day.

“ROOM IN THE HEART Death abides not on a hill called Golgotha, but in every heart that makes room. Life abides not outside a garden tomb in Jerusalem, but in every heart that makes room.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

Make room. Start with Day One but do not stop and linger there because it is not the ending but the beginning that gives meaning to the suffering. Day Three ahead.

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!”

Go Fly a Kite

”True courage is like a kite; a contrary wind raises it higher.” – John Petit-Senn

“You will find truth more quickly through delight than gravity. Let out a little more string on your kite.” – Alan Cohen

It was a quiet, foreign, snowy Easter. And yet, it was still Easter, no matter our current circumstances. Truths, seasons, cycles, the sun, the moon, the earth remain in place. When everything else is uncertain and unsure, we must ground and plant ourselves in these unchanging foundations, roots. I am not perfect. Not even close. But I anchor myself in God, in Easter, in the resurrection of Jesus. Full disclosure and well aware of my imperfections, I am eternally grateful for the gift of grace and mercy that allows me on God’s playing field.

There is so much more than right now and yet we only have right now, hence the dichotomy, complexity and simplicity of life. It is both abstract and concrete. Complicated and simple. We are a mix of opposites and complementary at the same time. So when we attach our reality and who we are to passing circumstances, to other people, to our jobs and not to the fundamental truths of life and our very soul, we are like a kite flying in the wind aimlessly with no string attached to ground us.

We need strings, threads and anchors to secure and embrace us. Strong enough to hold and flexible enough to let us fly and dance in different directions with delight and ease.

Perhaps that is why fear is more prevalent when we are not anchored and secure in the fundamental truth that we are not God and God still remains with us in our arrogance and ignorance to walk beside us through the journey of grace, love and home, despite the chaos.

If we have no string that binds us to earth and heaven at the same time, we will flounder and drift aimlessly. For me (no preaching, just personal fact), God is my string to my kite. We are called to invite the air beneath our wings, to dance in the wind with delight fulfilling our purpose, to choreograph our life into a beautiful expression of love, joy and awe, despite our circumstances.

Trust, let go and dance knowing that the string is being held and will not be let go.

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.

Palm Sunday 2020

“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.” – William Penn

As we enter this Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Good Friday to Easter, this Lent 2020 will be one to be remembered forever as we’ve walked it out through the bearing of our own crosses of a worldwide pandemic. Fear, uncertainty, stress, boredom, “unprecedented times” for our time at least.

I’d like to say that I’ve spent the last 40 days studying the Bible, in hours of praying the rosary. I haven’t. But I have felt God’s presence daily rather than just on Sunday’s for an hour. Much of the time has been spent reflecting on me and my life to now and where it should be, in dozens of meetings to keep work going and planning for the other side, clearing clutter and preparing the house for painting so new floors can be installed and getting outside a lot with the dogs. In sum, the past days have been about me and the impact of COVID-19 on my life and those who I love.

Self-reflection is the point of Lent. To look within, take inventory, be quiet, reflect, repent, forgive, embrace and prepare for the third day of resurrection, of becoming a new person, our best self that already exists and is being called out to play and stay. The “end-game” of Lent is to die to self and to accept the grace and mercy of the cross, of resurrection and new life. To let go of old ways, to strengthen our compassion, forgiveness and empathy muscles to flex them with the world like never before. To realize that we are and always have been held and carried by God. In carrying our own crosses, we get but a glimpse of what Jesus accomplished and offered up by dying on the cross for us. Now that’s really living out Lent.

This Lent has been our own collective invitation to enter silence, let go of fear and control, to change our priorities, to love deeper and hug longer. In boredom, in struggle, in loneliness, in the desert, we are being transformed, the cocoon to butterfly, the seed to bloom, from thirst to hydration. And just as winter always turns to spring, Lent always turns to Easter. Resurrection, changed, new and never to return to our old selves. Muted colors become brilliant. Flowers more fragrant. Gratitude for what already is within us deepened.

This has been a holy, sacred season. Reflect on the lessons during this Holy Week, read the passion of Christ – from the last supper, to 30 silver coins, to being denied by his best friend three times followed by the cock crowing, to the agony of being nailed to a cross. And 3 days later, the stone rolled away from the tomb to resurrection. We are truly living out Lent this year on this journey. And as we grieve the dying to our old self, prepare to be overwhelmed with the transformation to who we are meant to be – Easter people, filled with hope, love, trust, joy and faith.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you – for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart.” – St. Therese’ of Lisieux

“We give glory to You, Lord, who raised up Your cross to span the jaws of death like a bridge by which souls might pass from the region of the dead to the land of the living. We give glory to You who put on the body of a single mortal man and made it the source of life for every other mortal man.” – St. Ephrem of Edessa

Hope Always Remains

The international treasure, historic 850 old Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was consumed by fire yesterday. As the fire settled and smoke rose, the cross remained. One image summarizing the end of the story of Holy Week, the hope of Easter.

As we go through our own Last Suppers and suffering of our daily crosses, remember that the end of every story is always Easter. The cross always remains through the fires of hell. Hope remains. Always. Cling to hope no matter what you are going through now. The third day comes, resurrection and new life from ashes.

Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool

Melt

“I will greet this day with love in my heart. For this is the greatest secret of success in all ventures. Muscles can split a shield and even destroy life itself but only the unseen power of love can open the hearts of man. And until I master this act I will remain no more than a peddler in the marketplace. I will make love my greatest weapon and none on who I call can defend upon its force… my love will melt all hearts liken to the sun whose rays soften the coldest day.” – Og Mandino

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” – George Washington Carver

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” – George Washington Carver

Even as winter lingers into the dawn of April, the sun’s strength melts away the past, the ice, the cold. Transforming the winter into nurturing water to awaken the ground, turning the brown to green. Nature teaches us to melt, to soften, to wash away the sand and awaken to the newness of the day with gratitude and joy. Easter and Spring partner to renew and refresh. Melt.

Easter Fulfilled

“Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.”
– Clarence W. Hall

"He takes men out of time and makes them feel eternity." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"He takes men out of time and makes them feel eternity." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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