Friday, March 25, 2016

Sibling Assignment #178: Meditation Upon Life Coming from Death

I made this Sibling Assignment in anticipation of Easter.  Here it is:

Back at Whitworth, the Chaplain's office used to put together a book of meditations for the season of Lent that reflect upon some aspect of the forty days leading up to Easter.

Let's pretend we are at Whitworth.  Each of us has been asked to contribute a Lenten meditation and we were asked to write about one of three topics  -- or a combination of them:


Christy's meditation upon self-discipline and creativity is here and I'll post a link to Carol's post when she completes it.

I've been out and about the last few days taking pictures of life beginning to bud on tree branches or of new blossoms having sprung to life on cherry trees, dogwoods, and other plants all around the D. C. Metropolitan area.

Although I'm sure it can all be scientifically explained, all the same, I experience seeing floral life spring from what looks like lifeless tree branches or to have daffodils and crocus and tulips and other spring flowers suddenly break through the ground where there appeared to be nothing as a great mystery.

It reminds me during the Lenten season and on into Easter that I am untroubled by my own doubt and others' doubt about whether the resurrection of Jesus was an historical occurrence.  It might have been and, if so, it's a physically miraculous event.

The deeper truth of Easter, though, does not depend on a whether the resurrection physically happened and, knowing this relieves me of all concern when I doubt that it did.

The deeper truth is that in every moment of every day, resurrection happens. It's ongoing. It's a deeply embedded aspect of reality and, to me, a mysterious aspect of reality.

In the physical world, I am most aware of springtime as the season of resurrection as life springs from lifeless appearing dormancy or as certain animals awake from a death-like hibernation.

I also have experienced and I witness cycles of life/death/resurrection in my own inward life and in the inward lives of people I know.

On several occasions, I have, like Christ, but within myself, descended into hell and felt inwardly dead. Most often, it's been in the face of loss or separation or as a result of my own failure that I have died within myself. I've also experienced being in a coma -- it was as if I were dead to the world -- and I've been very ill on two or three other occasions when it felt like I was nearly dead.

But, resurrection, mysteriously, happens. Like Christ, who ascended out of hell, who emerged from the tomb, that same pattern of coming alive again happened to me. I didn't remain in despair. I recovered from illness. I once was dead, but now I live.

I've seen this same pattern in others -- I've seen people close to me be all but destroyed by experiencing bad things, say, in relationships, come back from the dead, become animated again, experience a resurrection of purpose and meaning again in their lives.

Resurrection happens in acts of forgiveness, in moments of grace, in deeds of generosity and giving. When forgiveness, grace, or generosity happens, both the one who is forgiving or generous and the one who receives this is transformed, often out of darkness, a kind of death, into light and life again.

In my daily prayers and in my life of worship and in my life of seeking the way of Truth, I have had to and continue to have to understand the deep mysteries of life and of Supreme Being, of God, on my own terms, in my own language, with my own stories, and often with my mouth shut.

I am most animated in life by what I experience, not by what I believe.  I'm happy to say, much like I experience gravity (so I don't have to bother believing in it), I experience God. I don't have to bother believing.

Likewise, all the time, I experience the resurrection. I don't need to bother with believing. New life springs from dead life within me and around me with the same sureness as a book hits the ground when I drop it.

Why our lives have been blessed with gravity and resurrection and renewal and healing and goodness and the presence of the God, I don't know.

I am always experiencing these mysteries and they matter to me more than anything.

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