Seeing What is Hidden From View

 

The Wizard of Oz (Revealed)

Scripture Passage:  John 9: 1-12 (13-41) (Lent 4A)

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.  The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

Go and wash.  It sounds so simple.  So there must be something fishy about it, right?  Inherently, we are just distrusting creatures, are we not? It’s interesting that the first thing that people address here is sin. The man has been apparently blind from birth and their first thought is sin? Did he commit the sin? What an odd question! Was he supposed to have committed some sin in the womb that was apparently terrible enough to blind him for life? Or did his parents sin? It’s an odd line of questioning to us. They see a man that has missed out on so much of what life holds, that has never seen what you and I take for granted every day, and they immediately want to know what he did wrong or what his parents did wrong to deserve that.  (Ok, now don’t get too self-righteous about our own reaction.  We do the same thing.  I mean, what went wrong in that person’s life?  It must have been SOMEONE’S fault.)

But Jesus doesn’t see a sinner; Jesus doesn’t even see a blind man; Jesus sees a child of God. And so he reaches down into the cool dirt and picks up a piece of the earth. He then spits into his hand and lovingly works the concoction into a sort of paste. And then, it says, he spreads the mud into the man’s eyes and tells him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. And the man’s eyes were opened and he saw what had been always hidden from his view.

We love this story.  But there are so many that ask why we don’t hear accounts of healing such as this.  Maybe it’s because we’re looking for miracles with ordinary eyes, with the eyes of our world that need to explain and extract.  Maybe it’s because we do not see something new.  At the risk of destroying the story for you, does the blindness have to be physical?  It never says that, nor does it say that the blind man was “fixed”‘ or “cured”.  If it wasn’t a physical healing, would that lessen the story?  How miraculous it is for someone to see in a different way, to open one’s vision to what God has envisioned for us.

I couldn’t help (again) but think of the Wizard of Oz.  You see, everyone imagined what they would find–courage, heart, mind, and home–imagined what it would look like, how it would come.  But the curtain was torn back and revealed that the miracle-worker was part of this world.  He was just an ordinary person.  So how could he give them courage, heart, mind, and home?  It had to do with seeing what is hidden from view.

This season of Lent is as much about showing us our blindness, our darkness, as it is about bringing us light. For that is the way we see as God sees. It is a way of seeing anew, seeing beauty we’ve never seen before, seeing the Way of Christ. Rainer Maria Rilke said that “the work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.” That is the work of Lent—to release us from our spiritual blindness, from our old way of seeing, frozen in time, and to light the way for a vision of eternity.  We are called to see that which is hidden from view.  It is the work that allows us to see, finally, what has always been hidden from view.  You see (pun intended), it is time for the heart-work.

There are two ways to live:  you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle. (Albert Einstein)

Much of this Lenten journey is about seeing, about seeing through our spiritual blindness, our own often self-imposed darkness.  Now is the time for our heart-work.  What does that look like?  What heals you from your won spiritual blindness?

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

So I Wait

Waiting on the journeyScripture Passage:  James 5: 7-10

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Patience…probably not my strong suit!  And isn’t waiting something that we talk about in Advent?  I thought Lent was supposed to be a journey, a time forward.  But journeys also include standing still, contemplating, thinking, perhaps waiting on change (or at least the traffic to clear).  You see, most of us probably not only want to know where we’re going but we also want to get there fast.  Waiting is not part of our make-up.  We’re programmed to keep moving, to keep increasing, even though some of the steps may be painful.  We’d rather traverse the jaggedness of the path than stand and wait for something that we do not control.   It’s as if when we keep moving, we think we have some control, a sense that we are somehow responsible for changing things.

So I wait.

The Scripture talks about the farmer waiting for the crop. We probably understand that better than in most years.  These past months have been utter chaos.  All of my plants froze and then were hit by a [literal] tornado.  I’m still wondering if some of my plants will come back from the pain.  I’ve done what I can.  Now I just wait.  It’s hard.  I like to know what direction things are moving.  But I wait.

So I wait.

Standing still–our lives don’t really encourage that–exposed, out of control, just waiting.  Maybe this vulnerability reminds us of our place or, more importantly, makes us appreciate the journey.  Part of this season and part of life is indeed about standing still (and sometimes even taking a step back).  A journey is seldom completed with constant motion.  We are just not made for that. (You can look up that seventh day concept when you have time!  You know…on the seventh day…) Sometimes we are meant to move; sometimes we are meant to stand still and savor what God has shown us.  And sometimes we are just supposed to walk through the waiting, as painful as it might be.  Behold!  There is the cross.  There you are.  And if you stand still long enough, you will be able to see where you are headed.  We are not called to walk blindly into the unknown, never looking, never questioning, never contemplating where we are or where we’re going or where we’ve been; we are called to journey toward that which God has illumined in our lives.

So I wait.

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.  (Joseph Campbell)

By my count, this is the 21st day of the season (remember, not counting Sundays!).  We are halfway through.  Stop.  Wait.  From where have you come?  What have you learned about the journey that you can take forward?

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

Light Exposure

 

Long-exposure Star Photography, by Lincoln Harrison

Scripture Text:  Ephesians 5: 8-14 (Lent 4A)

For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

This passage essentially contends that to “walk in the light” means that we are no longer naïve.  It is not about being happy or “blessed” in terms of how this world sees “blessed”.  The world is illumined by our faith.  We now must own a commitment to justice and compassion for all of Creation.  Light is goodness and justice and truth.  It is not about merely living a moral and righteous life; it is about witnessing to the light that is Christ.  Light and darkness cannot exist together.  As the passage says, light makes all things visible and then all things visible become light.  The Light of Christ makes that on which is shines light itself.  The passage exhorts us to wake up and see the light and then live as children of that light;  in essence, we are called to become light.

I don’t really think of this light of Christ as a bright, blinding spotlight.  It’s really much more nuanced and subtle than that.  Think illuminating, rather than blinding.  Think revealing, rather than overly bright.  And it doesn’t dispel or destroy the darkness but rather illumines it.  It casts a different light, a light that illuminates all.  God, with infinite wisdom, gave us the power and the desire to see through the darkness and glimpse the light shining through, to see the Light that is Christ.  It is a light that is always present regardless of our view, that exposes all that is visible and makes that on which it shines light itself.  There is a Maori proverb that says “turn your face to the [light] and the shadows will fall behind you.”  They are not consumed; they are still there, light streaming into their midst.  Shadows do not exist without light.  Light is what makes them visible.  We are like that.  Exposed by the Light of Christ, we become visible; and by becoming visible, we become light, children of light, images of the Light that is Christ, the Light that is God.

Light exposure changes the thing that is exposed.  When something is exposed to light, it takes on some of those light particles.  Colors lighten and change.  We are no different.  Faith is about light exposure.  When exposed to the Light that is God, we change.  We take on part of that Light.  We become a ray of that Light, a light that becomes visible to all.  We are not meant to live in darkness.  We are created to be children of Light.  We are created to be changed.  There is still darkness.  There are still injustices and prejudices and suffering and pain.  There are still parts of the world begging for Light.  That is where we come in, those who have been exposed, forever changed, and who can do nothing else but shine forth.
I cannot create the light. The best I can do is put myself in the path of its beam. (Annie Dillard)
On this Lenten journey, there is darkness all around.  Go and be Light.  Be that to which you have been exposed.
Grace and Peace,
Shelli

YOU Are the One!

David, the Shepherd BoyScripture Passage: 1 Samuel 16: 1-13 (Lent 4A)

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.  When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

In this Lenten season, what would change about our journey if we knew where we would end up, if we thought that we might end up in a place that we didn’t plan?  And what would change about our life if we knew how it was all going to turn out?  I mean, think about it…the boy David is out in the field just minding his own business and doing what probably generations of family members before him had done.  Perhaps his mind is drifting off in daydreams as he sits there with the sheep (since remember he had no smart phone or other gaming device!).  Perhaps he is thinking about what his life will be, where he plans to go, what he plans to do.  He sees his brothers leave and go inside one by one, probably wandering what in the world is going on.  Finally, he is called in.  “You’re the one!”  “What do you mean I’m the one?” he probably thought.  “What in the world are you talking about?  Don’t I even get a choice?”  “Not so much.”  And so David was anointed.  “You’re the one!”

What would have happened if David has just turned and walked away?  Well, I’m pretty sure that God would have found someone else, but the road would have turned away from where it was.  It would have been a good road, a life-filled road, a road that would have gotten us where we needed to be.  But it wouldn’t have been the road that God envisioned it to be. We know how it all turned out.  David started out by playing the supposed evil out of Saul with his lyre.  He ultimately became a great king (with several bumps–OK, LOTS of bumps, self-built mountains, really–along the way!) and generations later, a child was brought forth into the world, descended from David.  The child grew and became himself anointed—this time not for lyre-playing or kingship but as Messiah, as Savior, as Emmanuel, God-Incarnate.  And in turn, God then anoints the ones who are to fall in line.  “You’re the one”.

Do we even get a choice, you ask?  Sure, you get a choice.  You can close yourself off and try your best to hold on to what is really not yours anyway or you can walk forward into life as the one anointed to build the specific part of God’s Kingdom that is yours.  We are all called to different roads in different ways.  But the calling is specifically yours.  And in the midst of it, there is a choice between death and life.  Is there a choice?  Not so much!  Seeing the way to walk is not necessary about seeing where the road is going but knowing that the road is the Way.  So just keep walking and enjoy the scenery along the way! 

See, we are no different.  We are all chosen, all, on some level, anointed to this holy work.  We can ignore it.  We can cover our ears and cover our eyes and shroud ourselves with excuses and keep walking the way that we would like.  It will get us somewhere, perhaps somewhere that is good and wonderful and makes us feel good.  But what happens when God calls us from the fields and interrupts our daydreams?  What happens when God has something else in store for us?  What happens when God gives us a pathway that we did not expect to follow? Each of us given specific and unique gifts.  We are all called.  It’s not a goal to pursue but a calling to hear.  Our lives are the way we live into that call.  This is the one.  We are the ones.  We are the ones for which we’ve been waiting.

You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.  Now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour.  And there are things to be considered:  Where are you living?  What are you doing?  What are your relationships? Aare you in right relation?  Where is your water? Know your garden. It is time to speak your Truth. Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader.  This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.  Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate.  At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.  The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!  Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.  All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. (The Elders Oraibi, Arizona Hopi Nation)

Lent is a time of holy questioning and holy listening.  Where are you living?  What are you doing?  Where is your water?  For what are you being called?  For what are you the one?

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

Psalm 95: A Season for Worship

Girl WorshippingPsalter:  Psalm 95 (Lent 3A)

O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.  In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.  The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.  O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!  For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice!  Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your ancestors tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.  For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they do not regard my ways.” Therefore in my anger I swore, “They shall not enter my rest.”

Sometimes I think that “worship” in our culture is defined based on how gratifying it is to us, on whether or not it is meaningful to us or leave us feeling “spiritual”.   Our worship is sort of graded based on how good the sermon is, or how wonderful the music is, or how it makes us feel.  I know I fall into that trap.  There are just certain styles of worship and worship music that do not feel “worshipful” to me.  But, really, is that what worship is?  What is the point of worship?  Worshippers in Early Judaism believed that God was actually IN the worship space that they carried with them.  And so they would approach the tabernacle with awe and joy.  They didn’t get wrapped up in worship styles or whether or not they liked the sermon.  Worship was about God, about coming into the very Presence of God with thanksgiving.  Worship was about realizing that there was more than us, that God held all of Creation in the Divine Hands and was worthy of worship.

So, when did we lose that?  When did we lose the notion that worship is not about us? Soren Kierkegaard, when talking about worship, asked that we think about what it means to us.  Using his depiction of worship as a theater, think about your own notion of worship.  Where is the stage?  (Most would say the chancel or the altar.  (Newsflash:  It’s really NOT a stage.))  Who are the actors?  (Most would say the clergy, the choir, and perhaps the ushers and acolytes, those that “make it happen”)  Who is the audience?  (Well, of course the congregation.)  But Kierkegaard would say that the stage is the whole sanctuary, perhaps the whole world, all  of those places where worship happens.  And the actors?  Well that would be us–all of us, all of us bowing in worship.  And the audience?  The audience is God.  I love that.  I think it reminds us that we are not the center of worship.  It is not about us.

The Psalm reminds us that God is the God of all, that everything is within God’s realm, resting in God.  So we are called to make a joyful noise.  It doesn’t call for happiness.  Happiness, that self-gratifying feeling, is always a little bit elusive.  But joy–joy resides in the deepest part of our being.  It is that sense of awe and presence when we know that God is there, always there, and can do nothing else but come into God’s Presence, nothing else but worship the God of us all.  God desires our worship, not because God is selfish, not because God wants to be honored, not because we in some way owe God that; God desires our worship because God desires us, wants desperately to be with us, for us to feel and know and live in God’s Presence.  And, there, there in God’s Presence, we worship.  Our whole lives, we worship.  Every moment, every place, every piece of our being, worships. O Come, Let us Sing to the Lord!

To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.  (William Temple)

On this third Sunday of the Lenten Season, think about your own worship.  Who is the audience?  What would it mean for your worship to be solely about God and not about you? 

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

The Unmasking

UnmaskingScripture Passage:  2 Corinthians 5: 16-21

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

So what does that mean to no longer look at others or even Christ from a human point of view?  I mean, how can we do anything different?  We ARE human.  And we are meant to be human, human as Christ was human, fully human. It means that, once again, we are called not to jump away from this world but to look at things differently, to bring this perspective of this “new creation” into not only our lives but the lives of others as well.  We have been reconciled with God through Christ, according to Paul.  The Divine presence of God has come to dwell with humanity for all.  We have been given that which will sustain us beyond what we perceive as our wants, our desires, and even our needs.

I think that most of us sort of pretend to be human.  We know what is right and good and we try but fear and our need for security seeps in when we least expect it.  So we once again don our masks so that we will look faithful and righteous and more put together.  But we read here that we are called to look at everything with a different point of view, something other than a “human” point of view.  It’s about a change in perception.  That’s what this journey does.  It changes our perspective.  Where we once believed in Jesus as the one to emulate, the one who came to bring us eternal life, we now view Christ as the Savior of the world, the one that has ushered the Kingdom of God into everything, even our humanness.  It changes not only the way we view Christ, but also the way we view the world.  We live as if the Kingdom of God is in our very midst–because it is. Our change in perception means that we unmask, that we find our real self, that self that sees Christ’s presence even now and sees all of God’s children as part of that Presence.

Andre Berthiame once said that “we all wear masks and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.”  In other words, sometimes it is hard and perhaps a little painful, but it is the way to reveal who we are called to be.  No longer do we live our lives with some faint vision of a “someday” or a “somewhere” that is out there and to which we’re trying to journey.  God’s Presence, God’s Kingdom, is here, now.  And as God’s new creation, we see that the air is thick with its presence.  And as God’s children, our very lives are so full with God’s Presence that we can do nothing else but journey with it.

In his book, “Simply Christian“, N.T. Wright contends that “Christians are those who are already living “after death,” since Christ has raised us from the grave.  We ought more properly to speak of the world to come as “life after life after death.”  This is the change in perception.  It is looking beyond, living “as if” the Kingdom of God is here in its fullness, because that is how it will be.  It means that we live open to what God is showing us rather than walking through life with our eyes masked because we already know the way.  There is a story from the tradition of the 4th century Desert Mothers and Fathers that tells of a judge who goes into the desert looking for Abba Moses, who could provide him spiritual direction.  But he returned disappointed, complaining that the only person he met was an old man, tall and dark, wearing old clothes.  And he was told, “that was Abba Moses.”  He had been so affected by his perceptions, his view of what he should find through his human view–perhaps looking for a more “cleaned up, appropriate teacher”, that he wasn’t open to all that the Kingdom held for him to learn.  That is what we are called to do on this Lenten journey–change our perceptions, unmask, begin to view our life “as if”, as if the Kingdom of God were already in our midst (because it is.)

There is no creature, regardless creature, regardless of its apparent insignificance that fails to show us something of God’s goodness. (Thomas A’Kempis)

As you journey through this Lenten season, begin to look at things differently.  Rather than limiting yourself to a human view with your pre-conceived perceptions, open yourself to what God is showing you and begin to live “as if”.

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

At the Edge of the Rainbow

The Clifs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

Scripture Passage:  Luke 3:21-22a

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove.

What does it mean for the heavens to open, to somehow, whether literally or figuratively, come pouring into the earth?  When you read that, it’s a little hard to go back to the notion of the separation of the secular and the sacred.  No longer is God or whatever you think of heaven “out there”.  In some incredible, wonderful way, the Holy and the Sacred has poured into where we are.  All is sacred.

On this day when all who are Irish and all who become Irish for this day celebrate the feast day of St. Patrick, I thought we’d go back and visit his roots a little bit.  As his story goes, he was born Maewyn Succat in Roman Britain in the late 4th century.  Captured by Irish raiders when he was sixteen, he lived as a slave in Ireland for six years before escaping.  He would later return to Ireland as a missionary until his death in 460 or 461 and by the 8th century would become the land’s patron saint.  St. Patrick is, of course, associated with what we describe as Celtic Christianity.  This is a branch of Christianity that was unique to these Irish people during the Early Middle Ages.  The Celtic Christians unapologetically embraced their Celtic and Druid roots and articulated them through their new Christian lenses, even making some of their Druid gods and goddesses Christian saints.  We’re not completely sure how these Christians even got to Ireland but they were firmly established there by the 2nd century.  One view is that the Galatian Christians to whom Paul wrote (the Galts) were part of those who then migrated to what is now Wales, Ireland, and Scotland after the Roman invasion and occupation. (How cool and connected would THAT be?)

Celtic Christianity always has had a sense of pilgrimage, of journeying.  They were always, as Deborah Cronin describes it, “a bit on the edge”.  I think that would describe their physical location as well as their religious belief system.  But I also think it is where they are spiritually.  You see, the Celtic understanding is that all things are sacred.  Just as the Scripture implies, they had this strong sense that the spiritual world does indeed spill into the material world.  They embrace the image as a “thin place”, a place and time where time matters not and the spirit world is very close, a place where one can almost feel it, almost reach out and touch what is holy and sacred.  Rock bridgeThese thin places, thresholds between what is and what will be, are crossing places between the world and the Divine.  They are embraced as places of growth, as places through which we journey from one place to another, one way of seeing to another, one way of being to another.  So what we think of as ordinary places become sacred and holy as the sacred spills through them onto us.  Bridges, gateways, and causeways reconnect what is divided and make them accessible to each other.   Burial grounds mark the crossing place from life to death, from “this world” to an “other world”, from time and space to eternity and infinity.  And the rainbow?  If you remember, the ninth chapter of Genesis says that God set a bow in the clouds, a sign of the connection, the covenant, between God and the earth.

Burial site of Owen Shannon (1762-1839), Old Methodist Cemetery, Montgomery, TX (my great-great-great-great grandfather)

It is a symbol of the promise that the Sacred and the Holy is not inaccessible or removed from us but has spilled into the earth.  Never again can we become separated or isolated; never again can we close ourselves off and not move forward.

And for us?  We are always standing at the edge of the rainbow, the edge of the Sacred and the Holy.  God is in our midst and everything is Sacred.  The mundane and the ordinary is marked by God’s fingerprints and have become extraordinary.  This Lenten season is a journey of transformation.  We are moving from one way of being to another, from that mountaintop to Jerusalem, from life to death and life beyond.  And along the way are thresholds that we traverse.  We are always at the edge of the rainbow.  We just have to open ourselves to the sacredness that everything holds.  God is in our midst. Heaven has opened and has spilled into the earth.  Everywhere we walk is holy ground.

God rejoiced to see [God’s] Dream reborn.  [God] desired to mark this moment eternally, as a sign to all creation that hope is more real and permanent than despair.  [God] shone [this] perfect , invisible light–the light of joy–through all the tears that would ever flow out of human grief and suffering.  That invisible light was broken down, through our tears, into all the colours of the rainbow.  And God stretched the rainbow across the heavens, so that we might never forget the promise that holds all creation in being.  This is the promise that life and joy are the permanent reality, like the blue of the sky, and that all the roadblocks we encounter are like the clouds–black and threatening perhaps, but never the final word.  Because the final word is always “Yes”!  (Margaret Silf, in Sacred Spaces:  Stations on a Celtic Way)

On this Lenten journey, look around. What holiness do you see?  Where do you see God in your midst?  What thresholds are you crossing in your life?  

Rath De ‘ort (Gaelic, pronounced Rah Day urt, “The Grace of God on you.”)

Shelli