As soon as the week began, I questioned why I had placed “Joy” so early in the line-up of Easter Practices. Is joy not the culmination practice? And why did I place it right at the start of the week when my tasks filled with work, to-do lists, and endless tasks yet to be accomplished? Continue reading
Still close to the empty tomb, before the proclaiming begins, the women breathe in and out. Breath becomes the first method of processing what has happened. The story of Jesus has not ended the way that they assumed it had. Breath prepares them to greet the new, unexpected narrative.
This first week of Easter, I have practiced Surprise Relief through the simple act of breathing, pausing, and reminding myself – the story does not end the way that we are convinced that it will.
The simple act has had a profound impact as it has begun to raise my awareness to all the times when I have assumed the trajectory to be set. Continue reading
The truth is that the Lenten Journey comes naturally to me. The Lenten journey leads me to face what I already know is true. But the Easter Plot Twist is news. It is the good news which catches me off guard. It is the surprise which we cannot just innately know without hearing it proclaimed and lived. 1 John writes that it is a truth to be seen, heard, and touched. It is a truth to be revealed (not just known intuitively).
We march in the lillies and wear our Sunday best, but even the most extravagant of our “Allelulias” seem to be not enough after eight weeks leading to the cross. So I begin this year a new personal practice of an Easter Season. If Lent was a time for accepting the reckoning, then Easter is a time for expecting resurrection. Continue reading
Tonight, our oldest will accompany me to our Tenebrae service. Seated next to me, I will envelop him with my black-robed arm wrapped around his little body, as he watches the scene that unfolds – haunting melodies, dramatic scripture readings, descending darkness. I wonder how wide his eyes will become when we reach the pinnacle of the service and the Bible is slammed shut, the candle extinguished, and we sing in the dark. Continue reading
Quietly as I can, I turn off all the lights in the kitchen, leaving only the candle’s flame to light the way, giddy and erratic. I turn the chair around, slowly and methodically, to face out the window. I breathe in the state of the world – the sleeping boys, the snoring dog, the rising world.
For a moment, the only important thing to do is to see the branches.
Taller than the window allows me to see, the trees hold last night’s snow. The heaviness cannot defy their slender frames. Subtle at first, the branches move. The stiller I become, the more I realize that they are in constant movement. I recognize the persistent winds that blow across the top of our house on a still morning.
How still do you have to become to notice the branches move?
How dark does it have to become to witness its shape in the morning light?
The child longs for perfectly presented objects of desire placed underneath the twinkling lights and all the time in the day; for normal life to cease and fantasy land to commence, the imagination alive with possibility.
Anticipation mounts the joy. Mystery multiples the wonder. Hugs are sweeter. The air is thick. It is confirmed: life is good.
The house is (what has become) a familiar sight. Boxes stacked in corners. Cabinets hold only a few essentials. The to-do list ebbs and flows by day’s end. We will celebrate Christmas this year in liminal space – with one foot in our first home and one foot in our forever home.
Stripped of any sense of settled, I have foregone even the dream of the idealized Christmas painted in the classic songs. I have found myself most drawn in gratitude for the Advent truths in the liminal spaces. Wrapped in the rough and worn packaging of ancient texts, I have already received the greatest gifts Christmas has to offer – time spent with a God who reveals what we have not known before, concepts that provide ever-constant openings to a new future, and truths that save me daily.