Eastering

Centering

“Christ eastering within us means we have a new center and core from which we live. We now live Christ’s life. Easter is more than a day, an event, a remembrance. It is a way of life”.  ~Michael Marsh, in his blog  Interrupting the Silence..

My life gathered new meaning when I began to understand the word Easter as a verb, not just a noun.

So what would it mean for you if you knew Easter as a verb rather than a noun? How would your life be different?

“Let him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us.” Gerard Manley Hopkins

Starting Over

 

There are countless things that bring my observance of Lent and the daily changes in our garden into side by side meaning for me – changing my heart in the simple practice of being open to wonder. We planted this small Red Baron peach tree less than a year ago. Flooding in our back yard from a hurricane and unusually long hours of severe freezing temperatures during wintertime appeared to defeat the young fruit tree. It stood, a forlorn stick we thought had not pulled through the trials it faced with roots so newly sunk into our soil. Then came a day when leaf buds tentatively swelled and one small blossom appeared as if dropped onto a twig of a branch, followed by 3 more. I see that small wonder every time I look out the windows near my desk. This morning I read excerpts from a book by Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest.. Good words that settled and helped me. The tiny peach tree tells the story too.

“Lent reminds us…conversion is a lifelong process…We never stop starting over.

I fall down. I get up.

Keep marching to the end. Don’t shed your equipment. Keep starting over..”

And when the country priest (who had started over many times in his life) lay dying, he said, “Does it matter? Grace is everywhere.’

 

House of Christmas

In these days between Christmas Day and the ending of the year, I read again and again the story. I read it in Luke. I read it in dear messages from friends as I look through our stack of Christmas cards. I read it in the children’s Christmas books I read to my granddaughter. And I read it in poetry.  I am glad for these quieter days, colder now so I want to stay inside.  It is still Christmas.

 

GK Chesterton (1874–1936)

The House of Christmas

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost – how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.

This world is wild as an old wives’ tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

 

 

Cathedral

I love the ancient oak trees growing near our church. To look through the arching branches reminds me of the relationship between ecclesiastical architecture and the hands of God seen in nature.

Cathedral

rustic arbor of arching branches

twisted in patterns of Gothic lace

inviting me to look beyond

to light

Eastering

Easter may be a noun defined by a day of family gathering, celebrations like egghunts and pastel dresses, and a special church service. But  Easter is more – an action word.  Like wonder and worship, it is also a verb.

“It is like a display of spiritual fireworks dazzling us with each burst: LIfe! Power! Love! Triumph! Transformation! Hope! Joy!”     ~  Bobby Gross,   Living the Christian Year

Silent Saturday

This print of an original artwork by David Arms hangs in the dining room of our home. It is rich with symbolism, as is all of David’s art.  On this Saturday that is called silent because Christ has been crucified but not yet risen, I stand and consider the meaning portrayed by the artist and more importantly, the meaning and mystery of all that Christians celebrate in their remembering during Lent, the week called Holy, and this time when we wait in vigil and anticipation of Resurrection.  I am Eastering.  Each year that passes (now 76 for me) I am more aware of all that I do not know yet all that I know that I have been given.  The name of this painting is The Last Supper.*

*This is the story of the Last Supper portrayed symbolically. The sparrow is the most common and lowly of man. The blackbird represents sin. The nest with the three eggs (home in heaven with the trinity) is where this scene is leading. The floating table meaning God is in control. And most importantly, the white dove is Jesus.

Waiting

fog

Winter Fog

bare branches reach

waiting in a gray veil

to wear green again

On Christmas day,  Nora and I rode in the back seat of our car to church, watching for trees. She said the leaves were all gone away and I agreed.  I said they would come back in the Spring and be here for her birthday. This is an often repeated story recently as she widens her 2-year-old world to pay attention to things that go away. I thought of this the last few days in our early morning fog. Most mornings, I can see beyond our fence and across the lake to a house that is being built there.  I see duck families and herons on the water. But the fog here obscures all but the most pronounced and closest objects. So it is with these days approaching year’s end.  I know what recent days have looked like, but the new year coming holds no clear vision for me.  I am called to trust, to practice discernment, to watch for markers that remind me I have been and will be guided.

“Spiritual discernment asks us to pay attention…on many levels:  to sensus fidelium ( the collective ene of the faithful), to read widely and deeply the best ancient and contemporary thinking, to pray, to attend to the prick of conscience, to watch, to wait, to listen.”

~from “Passing Angels: The Arts of Spiritual Discernment” by Wendy M. Wright in Weavings, November 1995

Advent Blooms

paperwhitesMy first Advent post this year pictured the paperwhite bulbs Nora planted on the day her baby brother was born, November 26, 2016. My, how fast they have grown!

paperwhiteblooms

Today, almost 4 weeks later, Nora holds her growing leaves close and says she loves them. Their blooms should be ready to grace our Christmas dinner table!

norapaperwhites

She loves her baby brother even more!  Oliver has many adoring arms to reach for him. He has grown too, a much more amazing miracle than the paperwhites. It has been fun to watch growth and blooming. Tending the blooms and the baby has given particular grace and meaning to these days of Advent, to my reflections of another baby and the way He changed the world.

oliver3weeksOliver and his Papa Joe.