Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Lord is risen; he is risen indeed!

Okay, I don't normally write spiritually-oriented stuff on my main blog. I have a separate private blog for my spiritual/religious thoughts, and I try to limit it to that part of cyberspace. But today is Easter, the holiest of holidays in the Christian church, and today, I feel the great joy of the resurrection. I would not be true to myself if I did not acknowledge that. My faith is very much a part of who I am. Perfect? Heh. You read the blog; you know better. Forgiven? I believe so -- if not, then I would be most miserable of all humanity (to paraphrase St. Paul).

The season of Lent is a wilderness experience, to learn how to depend on God for our needs, and to prepare ourselves for our own passion-death-resurrection experience. While we will all face the ultimate PDR experience, we can experience them on smaller scales in our lifetimes.

Since mid-February, my life has been given a few twists and turns, and I'm still trying to sort through everything. I am trying to simply keep treading water and not drown! I have some new responsibilities, new learning of all kinds, new adventures and challenges -- and at a few times, the same old level of self-doubt. But I know that deep down I am a hardy girl and I will not only survive but thrive.

During the times when I feel that I simply cannot continue, that I can't last even just one more moment, I think back to a thought shared with me by Jill Connor Browne THE Sweet Potato Queen: "The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot sustain you." A few years ago at this time (when Jill shared that thought with me), I was in a wilderness of self-doubt. Mostly, I needed to rediscover the person God meant me to be. I had no idea that within a very short time, that would be exactly what would happen. All this time later, I find myself looking back at that desert experience, my time of temptation when it would have been easy to give up --- and to look ahead at the Easter garden that surrounds me now.

I don't want to bring the desert into the garden ... and yet I have to do so. It is because of the wilderness/desert experience that I can appreciate more fully the lush green pastures and beautiful flowers of the garden of today. I have to bring a piece of the desert with me, to remind me of how far I've come, and what I may have yet to face again. I do not know when the garden may wither. I do not know when I will find myself in the wilderness yet again. I do know that whatever happens, my hope and my security is because of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

I know that there is nothing in this world that is greater than the love of God, love so powerful that it can correct even the greatest injustice and bring life from death. Fr. E (one of our priests) said these words this morning: "In Easter, life is proclaimed where death is expected."

The women went to the tomb expecting to anoint a cold, dead body. What they found was a messenger proclaiming the triumph of life and an empty tomb. Their world was once again turned upside down in just a matter of hours; only this time, their hearts were full of joy and wonder instead of grief and darkness. There was no question in their minds -- he had risen, just as he promised.

As Easter people, we can be no less joyous. We must proclaim life boldly where death is expected or even embraced.

Surrexit Christus, alleluia! Cantate Domino, alleluia!

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