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Little darlin’ (as the late, great George Harrison might say), it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter. Even if you don’t believe in global warming or climate change (you should; it’s as provable as gravity), you must admit that it’s been a wild wintery ride — so much rain in California, there’s no longer a drought (in fact, some towns have turned into islands), bitter cold and snow throughout the Midwest, tornados down South. Dark days, folks.

It’s a lot like Lent. As we walk with Jesus through these forty days, we walk a path of self-awareness. What is keeping you from being a fulfilled, self-realized child of God? Do you lack something in your life or do you suffer from a surfeit — too much of a certain bad behavior or unhealthy way of thinking? Whatever is out of balance, Lent is the time to take strides toward fixing it.

I’m not going to lie and say it will be easy…in fact, it shouldn’t be. You should expect to struggle. True change doesn’t come easily. But at the end of this winter-of-the-soul, there will be Easter. Spring. Renewal, regrowth, new life. In other words, here comes the sun.

Instead of wishing away winter, let’s hold on to its lessons. Being flesh is hard, scary and lonesome. But as anyone who’s ever snuggled with a warm puppy (or kitten) knows, being flesh is also lovely. Embrace your dark days, but look toward the light. It’s coming, as sure as Springtime.

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When we enter Lent, we tear our hearts wide open and invite Christ inside.  Last night was Ash Wednesday.  Part of our annual service is tearing cloth as we contemplate how to celebrate this liturgical season.

Will we give something up?  It doesn’t have to be chocolate or coffee.  It could be harsh words, uncharitable thoughts or judgment.

Or will we add something to our Christian practice?  A friend plans to read scripture whenever someone gets under her skin.  I’m going to try to see the Child of God in those around me.  That spark of His Light.

So far so good but I’m working from home today.  So far I’ve encountered a total of two people.  And, in truth, I think this will be my day-long total.

Fingers crossed that tomorrow I can remember to take a deep breath and look closer for the spark of His Light and Love.

–SueBE

Ready or not, here Easter comes.  I understand the feeling that Lori shared.  I feel like I’m tumbling into Easter which is, apparently, in three days.  You know how it goes – you know it is just around the corner but three days?  That little reality hit me yesterday as I listened to the preacher speak at a friend’s funeral service.

He was one of those people who was a champion at building something out of the stones that life through his way. He had to be.  The 9th of 10 children, he was 2 when his father died during the Great Depression.  It would have been easy to grow up a child of sorrow but that wasn’t Roy’s way.  When my son didn’t get the college scholarship he needed to attend his school of choice, Roy heard him out.

“So you’ll take this other one for two years and its a full scholarship?  Sounds like a good deal.” Roy wasn’t going to let him focus on the down side.

Things seldom go the way we plan.  People are seldom as cooperative and sunny as we would like.  We can mourn the reality of this or we can take what we have and build something new.

The life of a carpenter or even a rabbi would have been easier, but Christ walked towards the passion knowing his suffering would bring grace for those of us who could never achieve it on our own.

–SueBE

 

I’m not ready yet. For Easter, that is. Or maybe I’m too ready. It’s hard to tell. Certainly, Lent has been a rocky path, fraught with revelation and woe. I feel as though my body has been washed up on the shore of Holy Thursday, and I haven’t a clue what to do next. Wash some feet? Build a radio out of coconuts?

Lent is not supposed to be a time of despair. It is, in fact, a glorious time, in which we celebrate what Jesus was willing to do for us: He suffered; we got life eternal. Quite possibly the best deal in history, and we didn’t have to lift a finger. Still, it’s hard not to feel mixed emotions.

Why are we placed in this state of contradiction?
The daffodils say spring but the sky says winter.
We are dying. We are never dying at all.
We are rising like bread; we are falling like rain.
Somehow Good Friday amends into Easter —
a miracle, clearly, but sudden. So sudden.
Do we sit at the tomb till we’re ready? Or
do we wonder at apparitions? Run tell the gospel
or wait for a Pentecost just beyond our line of sight?
Salvation comes at a gallop. I mouth prayers
and hope for the courage to jump on.

Celebrate Lent. Look for Christ’s light in those around you.

Today’s sermon was on eyes of grace.  Dangerous listening seems like a good pairing.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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