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Archive for March, 2017

RELIGION IS NOT A MOOD

 

It can be difficult to do Lent on command, just because the calendar dictates it, especially if you are in a good place in your life. This is true of Holy Week as well, where we are called to summon up all of the strong emotions it evokes: betrayal, sorrow, outrage and compassion for great suffering.

The past few months have seen an epidemic of sorrow in my own life as I have sat with two good friends, each having lost a dear sister, many deaths in the St. John’s congregation including a splendid woman who lost her life unexpectedly at a young 63, a friend whose healthy and very fit husband has been diagnosed with stage four cancer, and what I would describe as the the ongoing toxicity from our nation’s capital. Tuesday will be the funeral for my wonderful adopted father, Jack, who brightened my life every time I saw him and treated me as daughter in countless ways.

T.S. Elliot was right when he wrote….

“APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow….”

And yet sadness – like the tomb of Jesus or the burial cave of Lazarus – cannot cut off life. Spring breaks in (this year early!) flaunting forsythia, early pansies, warm air and ridiculous hopefulness. And of course, the “firsts”… the first lunch eaten outside, the first plant brought home from the garden store, the first walk without a coat… And the promise of Easter.

In two days is the last Sunday of Lent and the lessons are a preview of Easter. They are about rebirth and resurrection, and I will suggest also about friendship and laughter. “I am the resurrection AND THE LIFE,” says Jesus. Life in all of its fullness now, not just later.

Religion is not a mood that we wait to strike us so we can feel holy or be in the right frame of mind for the season, but a practice of behaviors (prayer, sacraments, church, Scripture) that can help us be receptive to God when God shows up. Which is pretty often….

So I’ll see you in church.
Barbara

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