Plotting Our Resurrection

Scripture Text: John 11: 33-44

33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus began to weep. 36So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” 38Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

This has always been at the very least a strange story to me.  I think I once had some image of Lazarus walking out of the tomb, with tattered grave clothes dangling and an unbearable stench following him, and then dressing and sitting down for a nice fish dinner with Jesus and his sisters.  But the Scripture is not here to show us magic or to in some way depict a God that with the veritable snap of a finger can just put everything back like it was before. (Well, I don’t know, I supposed God CAN, but why?  That’s not really the way God works.  God has something much better in store.)  This story is taken as a precursor to Jesus’ own Resurrection.  It was Jesus’ way of promising life.  But, ironically, it is also the act that turns the tide toward Jesus’ demise.  Here, standing within two miles or so from Jerusalem, the journey as we know it begins to wind to an end.  Even now, the Sanhedrins are gathering their swords and the night is beginning to fall.  And Jesus is grieving.  As one who is fully human, Jesus fully experienced loss and grief.

So, why would Jesus do that?  Surely, he knew what might happen.  Surely, he knew how many red flags his presence near Jerusalem had already raised.  And what about Lazarus?  Who was this mysterious man whose main part in the whole Biblical story is to die and be raised?  Why do this with someone as seemingly insignificant as this?  Maybe it is because Lazarus is us–you and me.  Maybe the whole point of the passage is not to point to Jesus’ Resurrection but to our own.  Do you think of yourself as journeying toward resurrection?  Do you believe this?  Sure, we talk about journeying to God, about journeying to the Promised Land, whatever that might be, and about journeying to where God calls us.  But do you think of it as resurrection?  Do you think of yourself dying and then raised?  Maybe each of us is Lazarus.  Maybe that is what Jesus wanted us so badly to believe and live—to show us how to grieve and then to teach us Life.

We often depict this Lenten journey as our journey to the Cross, our journey with Christ.  So, does it stop there?  I think the story goes on.  Jesus is Resurrected.  Maybe that’s what Jesus was trying to show us–not that we would be somehow plucked from death in the nick of time and not that God really has the intention of putting our lives back together like some sort of Humpty-Dumpty character, but that we, too, are journeying toward resurrection, toward new life. 

Lent is the journey that shows us that.  Lent shows us that the journey through the wilderness is sometimes hard, sometimes painful. Lent shows us not that death will not claim us but that death will not have the final word.  Lent shows us that our faith tells us that there is more.  Lent shows us what it means for Christ to unbind even us–even you and me–and let us go.  Through all of life’s transitions, through all of life’s sad endings, through all of life’s unbearable turns, there is always a beginning.  There is always Resurrection and resurrection–over and over and over again.  That’s what this wilderness of loss teaches us—to plot our own resurrection.  It is not the final say.

There was, indeed, something I had missed about Christianity, and now all of a sudden I could see what it was.  It was the Resurrection!  How could I have been a church historian and a person of prayer who loved God and still not known that the most fundamental Christian reality is not the suffering of the cross but the life it brings?…The foundation of the universe for which God made us, to which God draws us, and in which God keeps us is not death, but joy.  (Roberta Bondi)

Grace and Peace,

 Shelli

Wilderness Rhythms

Scripture Text: 1 Samuel 23: 14-17

14David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but the Lord did not give him into his hand. 15David was in the Wilderness of Ziph at Horesh when he learned that Saul had come out to seek his life. 16Saul’s son Jonathan set out and came to David at Horesh; there he strengthened his hand through the Lord. 17He said to him, “Do not be afraid; for the hand of my father Saul shall not find you; you shall be king over Israel, and I shall be second to you; my father Saul also knows that this is so.”

David is one that spends a lot of time in the wilderness according to the Scriptures. He seems to always have issues. (You think?) Here, he is running, running for his very life. He knows that Saul is coming after him. So, he runs into the “strongholds of the wilderness”. Isn’t that interesting that this place that holds such danger, such peril, such forsakenness, is, here, a place of protection? David stays there, hidden away, as the wilderness surrounds him and holds him. I suppose given the alternative (you know, like when a really angry man with an army is chasing you), the wilderness appears to be a very attractive place. And it becomes easy to enter its wilds and close ourselves off to the world.

With all this talk about wilderness, it would be easy for us to think that the wilderness is a place for us to stay. Now, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I would like nothing better than to close myself off and not have to deal with my part of the world. Sometimes, I would love to just stay in my room for days on end and write. But even though God calls us into the wilderness in certain seasons of our lives, the wilderness is not meant to be our permanent home. The wilderness is not a place where we put down stakes and plant roots. The wilderness is not a home; it is an encounter. It is the place that pushes us. If a wilderness begins to offer us solace, we have, sadly, tamed its wilds.

I’ve thought again about those early Desert Mothers and Fathers, who spent the better part of a lifetime wandering in the wilderness, communing with God, and writing the tales. But they did not live in the wilderness as a home; they did not tame it enough that they could close themselves off. Imagine them moving in a way that their feet never really touched the ground.

When you think about it, the Bible is a story of movement. God creates life and just as quickly pushes it into the wilds. The creatures wander for a time and then they begin to plant their feet and build walls and boundaries. So God, with loving hands, pushes them farther out into the world. They wander and then they begin building walls and boundaries of a different kind. So, God pushes them out into the world again, telling them to go and wander, to find a new way.  The Bible is a story of the rhythms of God driving us into the world and our building of walls and boundaries. Then God drives us out and we build walls and boundaries.  It happens over and over and over again. It is no different here. David is driven into the wilderness and then decides, “you know, I’ll stay awhile and let it offer me solace and protection”. It did not last long.

Lent, like the wilderness, is not meant to be our home; it is meant to be our way of life. Because when we wander in the wilderness, we are free, we are vulnerable. University of Houston’s Dr. Brene’ Brown tells us that connection begins by allowing ourselves to be seen; in other words, being vulnerable, leaves us open to encounter. If we quit wandering and sit down and plant our feet and build a home that is not meant to be, that is not ours, we close ourselves off to change, to encounter. We close ourselves off to God. So, if you feel the need to stay where you are, to build a home, to wall yourselves off, at least find an opening so you can see the sun and breathe the air and know that God is always there.

Our true home is in the present moment.  The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment. Peace is all around us–in the world and in nature–and within us–in our bodies and our spirits. Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Grace and Peace,

 Shelli

Lost and Found

Scripture Text: Luke 15: 4-6

4“Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’

As we have come to know, the wilderness is treacherous. It is tiresome and mind-draining. It often seems to lengthen time even as one makes his or her way through it. We become impatient. We want it to end. We want to shorten the time that it has its hold on us. We want to take shortcuts to get to the end, so we veer off the path, away from our course, thinking that we have it all figured out. We find ourselves lost.

It is easy in times of wilderness to think that you are alone. It is tempting to assume that you have somehow ended up there of your own doing and that you and you alone are responsible for finding your way out. We’ve all been lost before. We’ve all been in situations where we just can’t seem to find our way back. We’ve all had times whether they be physical, emotional, or even spiritual when we lose our way or we feel ourselves mired in lostness and grief. We backtrack, trying to find the pathway down which we came so that we can “start again”. But everywhere we look, the choices of where to go all look the same. It becomes overwhelming. We turn and we turn and we panic and we run through this maze of choices over and over again.

When I was young, I was told that if I was lost, I should stay where I was. (Sometimes we’re smarter when we’re children, because we know to listen.) I think intellectually we all know that we should stay on the path and keep walking and yet, as adults, we somehow think we can fix it. We can wander with panic through life with no compass and no real help. We can try this way and that way and backtrack and veer off to nowhere. We can convince ourselves that we need no help, that we can do it. We can be tempted by the shortcuts that are offered along the way. And we stay lost.

Sometimes we are the lost sheep. Sometimes the wilderness seems to consume us. Sometimes the road through it seems to lengthen with each step. But where we did get the notion that solitude meant that we were alone? This wilderness journey is not one that we travel alone. God walks with us, holds us when we need to be held, and when we become the lost sheep, the one who has wandered away, God is there too. God doesn’t “fix” our way through the wilderness or speed up our wilderness time, but we are always wilderness-found.

We just have a little bit more time of this Lenten wilderness. We know that it will get harder. We know that, like many wilderness paths, it will seem to lengthen and become more treacherous as we near the end of its hold. But we do not walk it alone. Jesus, walking to the Cross, was never alone. He was in solitude; he was in prayer; he was often deserted by those who traveled with him; he often found himself mired in lostness and grief. But God has walked this way before. God knows the way. So, God will always make sure that even though the way is hard, we are always wilderness-found. And God lays us on the Divine shoulders and rejoices.

Often when the heart is torn with sorrow, spiritually we wander like a traveler lost in a deep wood.  We grow frightened, lose all sense of direction, batter ourselves against trees and rocks in our attempt to find a path.  All the while there is a path–a path of Faith–that leads straight out of the dense tangle of our difficulties into the open road we are seeking. (Helen Keller)

Grace and Peace,

 Shelli

God’s Delight

Scripture Text: Psalm 119: 9-16 (Lent 5B Alternative Psalter)

9How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word.

10With my whole heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments.

11I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.

12Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes.

13With my lips I declare all the ordinances of your mouth.

14I delight in the way of your decrees as much as in all riches.

15I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways.

16I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

Do you delight in God?  It’s a strange word, probably one we don’t use that often.  The dictionary says it means to “please someone greatly”.  I don’t know if that really works here.  I mean, I don’t really think of God as “pleasing me greatly”, as if that’s what God is trying to do—just please me, like it’s all about me. (Because I’m clear that it’s not all about me!)  No, this rather make me think of some of the wisdom passages that speak of daring to have a love for God that is deeper than you even thought possible, a love that comes from the very depths of one’s soul, (read Song of Songs or Song of Solomon when you get a chance!) from the place that you did not think it was even possible to access.  It’s a love that is so deep that you seem to become a part of what you love, a part of the very experience that IS God.  I think THAT’S what delighting in God is.

See, so many of us think of God as some sort of barely accessible character on the outskirts of our lives, watching over us, maybe even supervising us.  But I don’t get the impression that that’s what God desires.  Why in the world would God have created everything that is and then filled the earth (or, I don’t know, maybe even some other places!) with humans and other creatures just to watch them and make sure they behave.  That sounds very exhausting to me.  No, I think God created us because we are God’s delight.  We are part of what makes God delight, along with all the rest of Creation. 

So, perhaps delighting in God is coming closer to the delight that God has for us.  And if it is something that God does, then, by my calculation, it is holy.  Perhaps, then, delighting in God is to acknowledge that holiness, to dare to come closer, to actually get out of ourselves, and experience it, to know delight.  In Hebrew thought, to “know” is not just limited to intellectual capacity.  It is not just understanding facts or that something exists.  To know God is not just to know OF God.  To “know” connotes a familiarity, an intimacy.  To know God is to delight in God.

In this wilderness season, we have encountered the unfamiliar, a strangeness that is not that to which we are accustomed.  And yet, as we travel, we have grown to know it, to know the path itself rather than the destination.  That is delight.  The whole idea of delighting in God just as God delights in us sort of, to me, loosens some of those limits that we have placed upon our relationship with God.  No longer is God that overwhelming deity that supervises me or controls me like a puppet on a string.  No longer is God something for which I’m required to clean up my act or be presentable to encounter.  No longer is God waiting until I have enough faith or enough belief or whatever else before I can approach God.  God does not wait for us to change; God waits for us to delight in God.  God is always there delighting in me, delighting in all of us.  And when we come to understand that, when we come to know God with the intimacy of our Creator, of our very source of being, then we, too, can delight. 

This season of Lent is one that reveals to us that deep and abiding relationship with God.  It is a relationship where God delights in us and we delight in God.  And rather than following the rules that we’ve laid out or acting “appropriately”, delight can almost be characterized as a type of holy play, a conversation between our soul and its Creator.  To delight in God is to know who God created us to be.  It is a oneness with God (not a BECOMING God—that will never happen.  God is God; we are not.)  Delighting is not being “godly”; delighting is knowing God in the deepest part of your being.  What a delight! 

With so much in creation, why did You bother to make this blue planet so beautiful?  Why was it worth the effort?  This blue planet is insignificant, seemingly unimportant, yet You have made it painfully beautiful.  Why?  The answer, I think, is that is the way You do everything.  Beauty—mighty and small—delights You.  This tiny planet delights You.   (Andrew Greeley)

Grace and Peace,

 Shelli

Seeing Jesus

Peter Adams, Cristo-Redentor, Corcovado Mt, Rio

Scripture Text: John 12: 20-33 (Lent 5B)

20Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. 27“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. 

We wish to see Jesus.  Think about it.  What does that mean?  Would our lives or our faith or our image of God be different if we had actually laid eyes on Jesus?  I think it’s interesting that those who wanted to see Jesus are Greeks.  If they were Greeks, that was implying that they were not Jewish.  They were not part of Jesus’ community. And to these ancient Greeks, “seeing” meant observing.  “Theoros” was the word for spectator or “one who observes the vision.”  These spectators were not just there.  They weren’t just hanging around.  They were intentionally sent.  Think of them as ambassodors sent to consult and bring back the news.  Being a spectator, a “seer”, meant being both a witness and a participant.

There is a story that is told of Anthony the Great, the fourth-century leader of Egyptian monasticism.  A wise older monk and a young novice would journey each year into the desert to seek the wisdom of Anthony.  Upon finding him, the monk would seek instruction from the great Anthony on the life of prayer, devotion to Jesus, and his understanding of the Scriptures.  While the monk was asking all the questions the novice would simply stand quietly and take it all in.

The next year the well-worn monk and the young novice again went into the desert to find Anthony and seek his counsel.  Again, the monk was full of questions, while the novice simply stood by without saying a word.  This pattern was repeated year after year.  Finally, Anthony said to the young novice, “Why do you come here?  You come here year after year, yet you never ask any questions, you never desire my counsel, and you never seek my wisdom.  Why do you come?  Can you not speak?”  The young novice spoke for the first time in the presence of the great saint.  “It is enough just to see you.  It is enough, for me just to see you.”

It is enough for us just to see Jesus.  But it is more than just seeing with our eyes.  We are spectators.  We are participants.  We are witnesses.  In the Scripture passage, Jesus promised that as he was lifted up, as he was carried away from the hopelessness and despair of this world, he would draw all people to himself.  All would see Jesus and finally have their thirst quenched by the Divine.  But in order to be lifted up, the self that one has created must die away.  No longer can there be an attachment to this world—to wealth, to pleasure, to the place that one has obtained for oneself in life.  Those are meaningless.  But God through Christ offers a life that will always quench our thirst and be a feast for our eyes—a life with the Divine forever walking with us, a life for which our true self thirsts, a life of seeing Jesus, being with Jesus, just as those Greeks desired.

The cross is the instrument through which we see Jesus.  It is on the cross that Jesus becomes transparent, fully revealed.  Seeing Jesus means that we see that vision of the world that God holds for us.  And seeing Jesus also means that we see this world with all of its beauty and all of its horror.  We see the way that God sees.  We back away from ourselves and we see the big picture.  We see what needs to be done.  We finally see who we are.  And the closer we get to the cross, the more transparent we also become, the more of ourselves is revealed to the world. 

That is probably uncomfortable for most of us.  Wouldn’t it be easier to stand back in the shadows and let all of this happen, maybe just quietly watch it?  After all, Jesus did it for us, right?  But that is not what this walk is about.  That is not what we’re about.  That is not what Jesus was about.  And how, then, would you answer the question to come: “Were you there?”  Malcolm Muggeridge once said that “the way of Love is the way of the Cross, and it is only through the cross that we come to the Resurrection. Because the son of man will be lifted up in glory, we will be gathered in, and we will see Jesus illumined by the light of God.  In other words, when we finally get ourselves out of the way, when we step forward as spectators, participants, and witnesses, we WILL see Jesus.  It means going all the way to the cross. We can’t stand back and just look. “Seeing” does not just happen with our eyes; “Seeing Jesus” is what we do with our heart.

Lent is not just a time for squaring conscious accounts but for realizing what we perhaps had not seen before. (Thomas Merton)

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

The New Thing

Scripture Text: Isaiah 43: 18-19

18Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. 19I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

I love old things.  They are full of stories and ripe with history. They are real, full of pits and marks from the past. My house is full of antiques (many of which carry generations of family history with them) and, for want of a better word, “repurposed” antique wanna-be’s.  I love history. I love old houses and antique shops and cemeteries. I love connecting with the past and those that came before me. I love old churches and especially those that honor and celebrate their rich histories. See, old things are not the problem; old ideas are not the problem; old notions of who God is and who we are before God are not the problem. The problem comes about when we find ourselves stuck with “the way it has always been”, not wanting to bring the past to life, wake it up, repurpose it so that it has life for us now and beyond. The problem comes when we find ourselves holding on for fear of losing our past or losing our grounding, wandering in the wilderness of former things.

I don’t think God wants us to forget the past. It is part of us. It is coursing through our DNA as we speak, making us who we are. It is what taught us to breathe, taught us to live, taught us to worship, taught us to be. We always carry with us the echoes of what God created before. They are our beginnings. But beginnings are not meant to be held onto. It is to our detriment to pad our lives with the past, to clutch at the beginnings as if they are the end-all, afraid that we might lose them, and to miss the new thing that God is doing, the repurposing of the old into the new.

Tradition is not a bad thing. It is a wonderful thing. It means to come into a conversation that began long before we got here and that will continue long after we are gone. It means realizing that there was something before we got here that is of value. It’s just not finished. We have to enter the conversation, embrace its riches, and then find what Truth is finally ready to be heard and what part of the Truth is ours to finally tell. Edna St. Vincent Millay said that “[Humanity] did not invent God but developed faith to meet a God who is already there.” But the conversation must continue so that we can see the newness that God is doing as Creation is repurposed and Truth becomes fuller.

Lent is known as a season of the wilderness, a season of wandering into the unknown, of being vulnerable, of letting go. Maybe it’s not so much that we are entering wilderness, but that we are exchanging one wilderness for another, leaving the wilderness of former things behind and journeying on through the way that God has made in the wilds of the new and untamed wilderness. But if we do things the “way we’ve always done it”, we will miss the newness springing forth. I can’t help but think about this as we begin to birth our “new normal” as a society.  After this pandemic, there is no way of going “back to normal”.  It doesn’t exist.  The new normal is waiting to be, even if it is shrouded in wilderness right now.  There is no doubt that the wilderness is the place to begin but the beginning cannot be held for more than a moment or it is lost in the past.

It has been the interruptions to my everyday life that have most revealed to me the divine mystery of which I am a part. All of these interruptions presented themselves as opportunities; invited me to look in a new way at my identity before God. Each interruption took something away from me; each interruption offered something new. (Henri J.M. Nouwen)

Grace and Peace,

 Shelli

Fully Alive

Melchizedek, Churches of Christ, Farsi version

Scripture Text: Hebrews 5: 5-10 (Lent 5B)

5So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; 6as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” 7In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

St. Iranaeus of Lyons once said that “the glory of God is humanity fully alive.” What does that mean, to be “fully alive”? I don’t think that it means, as we might jump to conclude, reaching some sort of pinnacle of humanity, you know the “be all you can be” phenomenon. It is not in any way hierarchical. It doesn’t mean that one is better or worse or less alive than another. Being fully alive is rather embracing all that we are, all that God envisions us to be. It does not mean being superhuman; it means being fully human; it means being the very image of God such that was perfected in Jesus Christ.

So, who is this Melchizedek character? He crops up in the Bible a couple of times at best—in Genesis (Gen. 14:18) as Abraham is called by God and then again in Psalm 110 and then here. His name means “King of Righteousness” or “King of Peace” in some places. Remember that Abraham had been called by God and was promised that he would become the father of many nations. But that hadn’t happened, and Abraham was feeling the pressure of it all. So, at this lowest, darkest point, in the middle of the wilderness, so to speak, enter Melchizedek, a somewhat shadowy character that drifts in and out, almost not even worth a speaking part in the whole drama of Abraham. But he offers Abraham blessing, and food and wine. He just comes. He just shows up. (See, this is all sounding vaguely familiar.)

So, enter Jesus Christ, a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. It’s not hierarchical; it’s an ordering of life. And we are baptized into that same order. It is not a designation that comes with power or tenure or honor.  We are not “set apart” away from the world or away from life. We are baptized into the order of life, this great continual ordering of God. Our lives will be filled with love. They will also endure suffering. We will walk through feasts and famines. We will traverse mountains of light and dark valleys. We will journey through the familiarity and comforts of home and places of deep wilderness. Living the depth and breadth of our lives makes us fully alive, makes us real. But, into our high points and our low points, a somewhat shadowy character drifts in and out, offers us blessing, and food and wine. God just comes over and over and over again, God comes. God just shows up. Perhaps being fully alive is knowing that you are loved, not that you have to earn that love or gain that love or do something specific for that love. Love just comes. Being fully alive is knowing in the deepest part of your being how much you are loved, so loved that it literally spills out of you into the world.

The wilderness teaches us to become fully alive, to feel pain and acknowledge suffering as a part of life and Lent is an invitation to become fully alive, to immerse ourselves into life, to finally allow ourselves to feel loss and emptiness as normal human emotions, to feel the Cross, so that we can grasp the untold Joy of Resurrection. Lent is an invitation to become real, to know Love, to know Love in the deepest part of who we are. Maybe Love that is found in the wilderness makes us fully alive. Maybe Love that comes when we need it the most, when our lives are emptied out, when we are surrounded by darkness, when we can do nothing to earn love, is the Love that we finally need to know.

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable. (Madeleine L’Engle)

Grace and Peace,

 Shelli