Archive | Easter RSS feed for this section

Celebrate Easter!

10 Apr

Visit goodgroundpress.com to print these pages of Easter prayers and reflections. Treat yourself and those you love to all seven weeks of Easter. Carry the prayer mantra in your pocket or purse to keep your heart happy and at peace.

We pray for each of you this Easter. May you be blessed with hope in God’s promise of new life. ~ Sister Joan

The Sacred Ordinary Now

1 Apr
Photo via Flickr user Marco Giumelli

Photo via Flickr user Marco Giumelli

A few months ago, when the rocks were covered with snow, my family took a plane flight south to chase the sun. During our layover, we found a big open rotunda. My son, just over a year, ran around squealing with happiness. He pointed and pointed urgently out the big windows watching the planes and trucks. He could have stayed for hours.

I realized he had a different sense of time than I did. For me, this was just a necessary stop on the journey. Our destination was another time and place. We were just passing time. For him, the airport was the destination. He had no sense of where we were going or how long we’d be away from home. He was not pacing himself. He was fully present, fully open and joyfully accepting what that time had to offer. In his enthusiasm, I become more present, too. We were not waiting to live, waiting to arrive, we were living. We had arrived. The layover was the destination. I think of the airport rotunda often in my daily life as I try to live in the present.

On the first nice day of the season about a month ago, my little boy stopped along the side of the house to pick up a rock. He seemed to choose one very carefully and proceeded to hold onto it for the entirety of the walk. I thought it a fluke until he chose a different rock the next day on the way to the park. He handed it to me when we got to the playground to keep in my pocket, and held it again on the stroller ride home. It has become a ritual that I find so endearing– taking a piece of home with us on the journey until we return. The rock seems to ground him in home as we venture out. It has become a part of our routine that I find comfort in. He takes something as ordinary as a rock and gives it meaning. It becomes his companion in his little hand, something tangible to take hold of. As we explore farther and farther from home, home still awaits us. I muse about heaven as a home that awaits us and what we will hold in our hearts from this place as we travel there.

He, like so many children, seems to have a knack for presence and ritual. He invites me to my higher self, making sure I don’t miss out on what today has to offer me, hidden in the rocks. Children apply meaning to the ordinary and find awe in things adults can take for granted. In this way, being a mom has re-centered me in the present and reminded me of the importance of ritual.

Easter is a great ending to Jesus’ story in the Gospels. For us, the ones here and now, Easter is just the beginning of our story. Children seem to know that and want to remind us. There is something for us here and now, in this life, in this time and place. Mindfulness and ritual can help us to celebrate that this Easter season.

 

 

Easter in This Life

24 Mar
Photo via Flickr user Anne Reeves

Photo via Flickr user Anne Reeves

“Hang on,” I wrote to my friend yesterday, “Easter is coming.”

A lot of people close to me are suffering. A friend’s transplant match fell through. A high school sophomore is having dark thoughts of hurting himself. My dad got a cancer diagnosis and is waiting to hear more about the implications. A friend was sexually harassed at work. My friend’s baby is in the hospital with pneumonia, not able to breathe on his own. Another friend’s dad died suddenly. We are sitting in Good Friday, waiting for Easter.

We know Easter is coming, but Jesus’ friends didn’t. Jesus, the friend they thought was the Messiah, died. He was gone. Can you imagine the grief and confusion filling those days between? Did their minds go to anger? Resentment? Betrayal? Hopelessness? They weren’t days of waiting because they didn’t know Easter was coming. I have to imagine some of them thought is was just over. Jesus was just really gone for good. To this day, we are always surprised at the permanence of death. Death from this place really is forever. It’s jarring. So I assume Jesus’ friends were dealing with this reality. In shock. Jarred.

In that way, I feel lucky to know the whole story, to know that Good Friday is not the end. Yet unlike Jesus’ friends, we don’t get to see Jesus risen. Not yet. Easter will come after Good Friday, and then our lives here continue. I do hope Easter gives the people I care for a moment of relief, but our pain here and now continues. We trudge on, looking for ways to claim mini resurrections in this life, our messy, broken lives. I asked the young people I work with how they know it is spring:

you hear birds singing

you see green breaking through the dirt

you can walk outside without a heavy coat, scarf, hat and mittens

Spring is coming. The days are getting longer. There is relief and renewal if we just hang on. With my son more stable these days, no longer a baby, I have felt a mini resurrection in my own life. I see friends, go for a run, find myself more emotionally available to other people. I sleep through the night and wake up refreshed. I choose to claim the beauty and new life in my days, in the midst of all the suffering. It is a daily decision to acknowledge the Easter and now.

Bukowski reminds us of the mini resurrections that happen in this life while we wait for the next:

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.

you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.

(experts from “The Laughing Heart”)

Happy Easter to you. May you beat death in life, sometimes. May you find your Alleluia.

Gospel Reflection for March 27, 2016, Easter Sunday

21 Mar

Sunday Readings: Acts 10.34, 37-43; Colossians 3.1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5.6-8; John 20.1-9 (10-18)

Mary Magdelene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.”

(John 20.18)

The act of raising Jesus from the dead reveals who God is — the one who gives life. By accepting death, Jesus reveals that God’s power lies not in magic or military might but in love. Love is the power that gives life, especially its concrete forms such as forgiving, serving others, sharing. These are the powers death cannot defeat. These are the human actions that reveal God as people go out and beyond themselves.

Jesus’ resurrection calls us to trust ourselves to God at our own deaths as Jesus trusted God on the cross. Our Easter faith calls us to trust the life-giving Creator whose presence shows forth in all that is and the sustaining Spirit who holds us in being.

What affirms your faith in Jesus’ self-giving way of life?

If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection,
please visit the Sunday By Sunday page
to order a subscription or request a free sample.
Start a small bible study. Be a leader.

 

Ascension

12 May
Photo via Flickr user Katharina Friederike

Photo via Flickr user Katharina Friederike

“To them I have revealed your name, so that your love for me may live in them.” – John 17.26

Whose kindnesses and love bring this text alive in your life? How can you, too, have Christ’s love live on in your daily tasks?

Put a photo of someone you admire or love in a place where you see it daily. Give thanks to God for this person in your life.

Prayer for the week

Come, Holy Spirit.

6th Week of Easter

5 May
Photo via Flickr user Olga Lednichenko

Photo via Flickr user Olga Lednichenko

“Peace is my gift to you.” – John 14.27

Jesus promises his disciples peace. He sends them on Easter evening to be instruments of his peace and forgiveness as God has sent him. Be an instrument of peace in your family and office.

Look over the day each evening to see how what the Spirit of Christ risen is teaching you.

Prayer of the week: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

5th Week of Easter

28 Apr
Love-Large

Photo via Flickr user Farrukh

“I give you a new commandment: Love one another.”

John 13.34

The risen Jesus makes “Love one another” the simple command he leaves with his friends. Love is not only a feeling but a verb, actions we do. Serve. Include. Forgive. Share. Reach out. Listen. Comfort.

Pay attention to local and world news events about people of other cultures and religions, or those suffering neglect or hate. Pray for them. Live your prayer and the new commandment at home and in the office. Find a way to step beyond your usual circle to help someone in need of food, education, shelter, presence.

Prayer of the Week: God is good to all and compassionate toward all God has made.

4th Week of Easter

21 Apr
Photo via Flickr user Waiting For The Word

Photo via Flickr user Waiting For The Word

 

“My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me.” – John 10.27

Good shepherds care for their flocks, or employees, or clients, or students as they do for themselves. They accompany their flocks through danger, drought, and dark valleys.

Hear what God’s voice directs you to do in your daily life. Be a caring friend and coworker this week, especially to those who seem outside the flock or in danger.

 

Prayer of the Week: Lord, you are my shepherd. Let me hear your voice.

3rd Week of Easter

14 Apr
Photo via Flickr user AshtonPal

Photo via Flickr user AshtonPal

“Do you love me?” – John 21.17

Three times the risen Jesus asks his friend and disciple Peter the question, “Do you love me?” Perhaps Jesus asks three times because Peter denied Jesus three times. Live your answer to Jesus’ question this week. Testify in your actions that you love those with whom Jesus identifies in this world.

Give a gift of attentive, uninterrupted listening this week to two people — the one you love most and one very different from you, perhaps foreign in culture. Remember each evening ways your actions said, “Lord, you know that I love you.”

Prayer for the Week: You know that I love you.

AND

10 Apr
Photo via Flickr user Sean MacEntee

Photo via Flickr user Sean MacEntee

Happy Easter to you! He is risen indeed, Alleluia.

During Jesus’ lifetime, people believed that when the Messiah came there would be peace in all nations. The Messiah would usher in a Messianic Age filled with prosperity and healing. Wars would end, boundaries would dissolve, and all would be well. They expected a power that more closely resembled kingly power on earth– big, gloating, sparkling.

If Jesus was the Messiah, then with his presence there should have been peace. The world should have changed, but it didn’t.

The women who went to see Jesus’ tomb knew this about the world. They knew that Jesus pushed enough political buttons to get killed. They knew the reality of crucifixion, and they knew that once you died you stayed dead. Jesus died, and the world didn’t change.

Despite all of this, the women went to the tomb. They knew better, they knew the dead stay dead, but they went anyway. And something had happened. It wasn’t what anyone expected, but it was real. The tomb was empty. No body. Death did not get the last word. In Ben Cieslik’s Easter sermon, he reminded me that Matthew said the women left with fear and great joy. As he said, Easter is a mixed bag.

Like these women who loved Jesus, we are called in this season of Easter to live with that same fear and great joy.

We celebrate Easter year in and year out, praying for the Messianic Age, praying for peace, for the world to change. Like people in Jesus’ time, we want Easter to mean that the world will be a little bit less of a scary place. But it hasn’t changed. The world is still broken and hurting. There will continue to be people senselessly murdered, more planes will crash, violence will continue to escalate in age old conflicts. Tomorrow’s world will look eerily similar to today’s world. But there is fear and great joy. The tomb is empty. Death does not win. This place will not be our resting place. This Easter, in fear and great joy, we hold onto the promise of the empty tomb. We trust that in the end, peace and love will be all we know.

%d bloggers like this: