Saturday, April 11, 2009
Fruits of the Journey
The season of Lent . . . traditionally, I give up something. This year it was to be email and facebook. I'll be laughing about my poor attempt at giving up email for years to come! However, our church's theme this year was "grace and gratitude." I've done much better about recognizing the moments of grace in my life and communicating my gratitude for those moments when they occur. Ash Wednesday, I donned my "Thank You" necklace from 28 years ago and have kept it on throughout Lent. It's my way of having a gentle reminder of the effect my actions have on others, of the effect others' lives have on me, and of the gracious love and redemption given freely to me by our savior, Jesus Christ.
I have taken the opportunity over these last few weeks to deeply examine my personal spiritual beliefs. It amazes me that my life has been, and continues to be, so greatly influenced by the life of a man who lived and died 2000 years ago. What I have found is that the beliefs I hold as to who that man was have extremely deep roots, penetrating all the way back to my childhood. I have found a new strength inside me so that when my intellect looks at my beliefs and scoffs, I can hold myself upright and can claim that it doesn't matter if the history books don't relate the same story as I learned growing up about Jesus. Jesus was human and holy -- real, divine, whole -- beloved of God. My faith is rooted in the knowledge that I have that divinity within me. When I acknowledged a relationship with Jesus Christ and the love that he brought into the world, the Holy Spirit wrapped me, invaded me, claimed me -- became an integral part of me. As I grow in my own spiritual knowledge, God seeks me out -- tenderly sometimes, but also a bit impatiently at times, pulling me toward a new place, a new way. My reluctance at times so silly and inane. What have I to give up? What holds me so that I want to linger here, static, unwilling to grow and expand? I am holding myself so tightly, afraid of letting go, letting God take hold of me and experience that all-consuming love. I want that wild and unencumbered release of my soul I know God can give me, but it is frightening for me to consider allowing it!
I feel like the fruits of this Lenten season will last for quite a while . . . encouraging me on to further digging and exploration. Who says it has to end on Easter morning?