by Blue Heron
Spring has technically arrived on the calendar but the wind coming off the bay remains raw. The crocuses popped up some time ago, and lawns are slowly greening, yet the Spring I hope for remains at a distance. Cape Cod is such a unique setting. The waters north of the Cape are cold as they come down from the North Atlantic. The waters to the south of the Cape are warmed by the Gulf Stream . So we are at the intersection of two climates.
We have fish and animal life from both ecosystems. The cold ocean pretty much steals our spring away. But the warm waters of summer provide a mild autumn. I remember swimming in ponds in October.
I find within myself that I live at the intersection of two worlds. I want to think well of myself, and have others do the same. But in truth my mind darts around with jealous and angry thoughts, and much of my energy is spent longing after illusions. The truth is that I am in need of a Savior. If everything were wonderful, I wouldn’t need saving. I need help and I need changing if I am going to reach the land I really want to dwell in. So I live between these two worlds. I must choose between what I would prefer to think about myself and the actual truth about myself. I find this difficult. There are times I would like to perpetuate the illusion.
At such times I remember that Jesus has known me for a long time. He accepted me and forgave me long before I ever realized there was a problem. And so I am learning to stand on that ground. His intentions are not like mine. He waits, and gently soothes my thrashings when I finally come to see my need for him.
by Blue Heron
Sometimes the deepest understandings come without words. I was watching the children during Easter Vigil, wondering what they were taking in from all the actions of the service: the fire burning in the atrium, the darkness, the single candle sharing its flame until all the faces in the crowd were illuminated. I am not so different from the children…
During the Holy Saturday vigil, for just a few moments, we sit in total darkness and the congregation bangs on wooden blocks. It is a terrifying time, perhaps representing what life would be like if evil reigned and we were stuck in a world without Jesus. Even though I knew the sound was coming, I still jumped in my seat.
Jesus took all that on himself, the darkness, the evil lurking around him during those three days. There were the disciples sleeping in the garden, the kiss a betrayal, Peter’s denials, the trial and the raucous crowd demanding he be crucified. And then the beating and bloody whipping and the agony of the cross.
He gave until there was nothing left to give.
On Easter morn we experience hope rising in music, scent of flowers, light coming back into our world. Beyond the mystery–a reality. I feel ashamed that I have spent so much time in the shadows. It is time for new beginnings, new risks. Time to move out into the territory of lost causes! Time to reclaim some of the ground I have lost!
by Sr Nunother
Holy Saturday is the door through which we walk from Good Friday’s dark tragedy to Easter Sunday’s triumphant celebration. It seems to me a reflective place, a space for human emotion to reboot and prepare to move forward. Like the first disciples, I sift through grief, fear, guilt and anger at my own duplicity. Unlike the first disciples, I’m blessed to know the outcome.
by Artist Eye
He who wraps the vault of heaven in clouds
girds Himself with a towel;
He who holds in His hands the breath of all that exist
kneels down to wash the feet of His servants
I love these verses from a canticle for Holy Thursday. Whenever heaven takes on earth so dramatically I suddenly begin to see my own little corner of the world infused with brightness. On Holy Thursday the Guardian of All Souls will sit down to supper with me and my companions and we will likely speak of how we ourselves have been delivered. We all have a story to tell. We may not all have fled from the same ancient foes, but there has never been a shortage of tyrants and totalitarians, famine and financial disaster, to say nothing of the calamities of our own makings and the rotten fruits of our own hubris. At supper each of us can retrace the steps and recall the Face that went before us to lead us out of Egypt, out of darkness, out of fear, and out of foolishness. Because we will hear again the promise: As all die in Adam, so all will be brought to life in Christ.
by Sr Nunother
The cardinal is a symbol of faith in winter’s darkness, a messenger of hope robed in scarlet, above the earth and of the earth. His beauty speaks — in words not spoken — of joy, promise, and new beginnings. I take heart this Lenten season when a cardinal pauses nearby. His bright red feathers are a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice and the light, truth, and love that sprang from it.
by Sr Nunother
Oh dear. I strive for perfect in all the wrong ways. There are days when everything I do is off kilter. I lose my glasses, misplace important papers, and walk into walls. I bite into a sandwich and mustard catapults onto my sleeve. I wipe it off with a paper towel, then Google “mustard stain” and learn to never rub mustard into fabric, always lift excess with a knife. I try harder. Lint on the black yoke of my habit becomes super important and I keep a package of sealing tape nearby for instant removal. My idea of perfect has to do with ego, pride, and self-improvement. God’s perfect has to do with forming a heart of love, forgiveness, and mercy. The Hebrew word for perfect, tamiym, translates as whole, sincere, complete, and filled with integrity. Now those are things worth striving for.