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.

Easter

20160327_083929Photo taken in the prayer garden at First Baptist Church, Richmond, Texas. Our early morning Easter services are held under this oak tree, among the oldest and largest in South Texas. 

Lord, from clay you made us,

to be a living soul

from your own breath

to live in harmony  with you.

Too soon we strayed away.

Kyrie eleison,

 

But clay I am, and you the potter

always shaping and reshaping.

However you make me

I am your child,’fashioned in your image.

Christe eleison,

 

Your continual moulding turns

pride ito humility,

indifference to love,

faint-heartedness to faith,

ingratitude to thankfulness.

Kyrie eleison.

 

` from Clay, by Marianne Dormann

Remember

IMG_2068

“Judas, Peter”

because we are all
betrayers, taking
silver and eating
body and blood and asking
(guilty) is it I and hearing
him say yes
it would be simple for us all
to rush out
and hang ourselves
but if we find grace
to cry and wait
after the voice of morning
has crowed in our ears
clearly enough
to break our hearts
he will be there
to ask us each again
do you love me?
—Luci Shaw,

 

IMG_2070 

Telling the Easter Story

IMG_0692

As Palm Sunday approaches, signaling the beginning of Holy Week, I am drawn to the beauty and symbolism in the flower of this garden vine, which trails over the fence at my son’s home.

In the woods of East Texas where I spent my childhood, it grows wild and is often called maypop, but I love the imagery in the name given to the flower by priests in the late 16th century when it was found growing in what is now Latin America – Espino de Cristo, (Christ’s Thorms.)  Now named Passion Flower, the colors may range from white or pale lavender to purple, but each part of the flower can be used to tell the story of the crucifixion. Simply gazing at  the flower’s perfect shape and hidden mystery can be a reflection and retelling of the story.

IMG_0695

Flowering

FloweringAlmondVanGogh

Art of the Day: Van Gogh, Sprig of Flowering Almond in a Glass, March 1888. Oil on canvas, 24.5 x 19.5 cm. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

greening

leafing

budding

flowering

resurrection

Matter of the Heart

IMG_1871

Last month I opened my small 2015 calendar book and began entering appointments and commitments already made.  I like that part of beginning a new year with fresh calendar pages. It is popular now to do this calendar recording on phones and other electronic devices, but I like handwriting little reminders of place and time. By the first week of
February, I already had a number of dates marked with plans leading up to Lent and Easter, a happy time and typically a very busy time for our family.

And then, a week ago, I ruptured an Achillles tendon and began the changes which would clear almost everything already on the calendar and replace commitments for choir and handbells and meetings with appointments for doctors, an MRI, and surgery. I was not only in severe pain, but crestfallen, disappointed.  Of course I did not welcome this interrruption and the extra work it creates for my husband and our busy family, but I realized that I was not only reacting to the physical discomfort and  limitation, I needed some heart work. The weeks ahead of surgery and limited mobility closely parallel the weeks of Lent, Perhaps I could consider this time of being still and healing in that light.

At the suggestion of my friend and pastor, I have registered for an online Lenten retreat which begins a few days after my repair surgery which considers the questions: Why am I here? What is mine to do? Who am I called to be? And what can I contribute and offer to the world?   It is a matter of the heart. I have put it on my calendar.

If you should be interested in learning more:

http://www.shalem.org/index.php/shalem-programs/open-hands-willing-hearts-online

Remembering

IMG_1704It is Good Friday.  I go into our garden, remembering another garden that became a place of prayer, entreaty, yearning, betrayal, and choosing a path that cost life to give life.  A rosemary bush at the end of our stone wall has wintered, died back, and now demonstrates life beginning again. .Both  the garden I  am remembering and the garden where I walk are places of revelation.

a garden is a place of revelation

seeds that survive to grow

are containers that must open and change,

releasing all that they are

in order to become what they can be.

 

a garden is a place of repair

a wildflower stubbornly pushes through

a crack in the wall, filling that broken place

with green growing hope

 

a garden is a place pointing to resurrection

though whipped by winds and dried from drought,

shattered stalks lift up and flower

beginning again

 

a garden is a place of revelation

but not a place I can stay.

I cross its threshold

and remember.