Monday, April 14, 2014

A Resurrection Bear Story

It is Monday of Holy Week and I do not have any leadership duties at any church this week.  It's not exactly time yet but I am thinking about death and resurrection, or better, endings and beginnings.  Jesus' life ends this Friday and leads to a new beginning for all who seek it.  Do you believe?

Let me share a true story about a bear.  It was a hot summer afternoon in July and I was in the staff kitchen at St. John washing dishes when Judi and Jo Ann rushed in with the exciting news that a bear had been sighted just outside the building.  My immediate thought was, “I want to see it.”  So I walked outside peering in the direction of the bear sighting.  Later it was reported that I went out “chasing the bear.”  I did not see or chase the bear. 

Since I was told there was a bear, I wanted to see the bear.  Maybe it was on the other side of the building so I went to investigate.  On the way someone showed me a tiny digital picture of a black spot she said was a bear.  But I was unconvinced.  Cautiously, I looked outside every door and window.  There was no bear to be seen.

This incident has caused me to think about the resurrection of Christ.  We have been told that Jesus rose from the dead.  Do we simply believe it at face value?  Most of us have the same inclination I did about the bear.  We want to see it.  We want to see the evidence of the resurrection.  So we set out on a journey to find it.  Along the way we even see evidence.  Because our eyes have not literally seen the resurrection we find it hard to believe. 

I never did see the bear.  I also have never seen the resurrection of Jesus.  Because I trust Judi and Jo Ann I have to believe that there truly was a bear at church.  They would not make this up.  Well, maybe they would as a prank.  But others saw the bear also. 

It’s the same with the resurrection.  I come to trust the witness of the women and men who not only saw Jesus dead and then alive, but those who have experienced the newness of life that comes from asking Christ into their lives. It is this resurrection hope that is ours for the claiming.  May Easter bring this new hope into your lives.

Grace Always,

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Knowing When You Begin the Spiritual Slide

Are you a spiritually aware person?  Do you know right now how your soul is doing?  Is your spiritual well being connected with feeling good or experiencing positive outer circumstances?  For example, does your soul feel good when you have a really good day?  How much does your spirituality depend on outward events and feelings?

I notice that I begin to slide spiritually when I start to let my prayer life slip.  The two are intricately connected.  This makes total sense to me.  Prayer is a way of being in the world.  It is much more than a specific time, posture, or words.  It is a deep awareness and connection with God.  It is a way of going through the daily activities of my life with a knowledge that God is with me, that I am loved, and that I have a purpose no matter what happens, good or bad.

Sometimes I react poorly to a situation that reminds me that my spirit is sliding away.  A frustrating experience is not met with a peaceful, calm spirit, but with an anxious and angry one!  This Lent God seems to be helping me notice when my prayer life is not what it needs to be.  Sooner than later.  I am grateful for this growing awareness.  My goal in living the spiritual life is to lessen the surprises of my unhelpful responses.  My desire is not to forget God but to pay attention to all of the whispers of grace that come to my soul.

Grace Always,