Sunday, April 8, 2007

He is Risen!

It was a beautiful day in spring when we gathered on the lawn for Patrick Mariner’s memorial service. The fragrance of the flowers, the bright sun releasing the oils of pine trees so that the air was tangy with them, the soft grass underfoot, all this seemed to belie the fact that a young family had just lost their only son.

The priest stood on the porch of the church to preach. He said, “We are accustomed to thinking of death as the end. We may know less than we think. What if life is just part of the path we tread? I want you to imagine being a baby in the womb. I want you to imagine a place this safe, warm, watery, a place where you are fed and held. Now imagine that someone, or something, comes to tell you that there is a whole new world beyond this one, a world so wide and so beautiful you cannot even see its boundaries, a world of movement, music, companionship, love and joy. And now imagine, if the only world you had ever known was the womb, what you would say to such a teaching. “What kind of fantasy is this? Has anyone ever returned from that place? Thanks but no thanks. I think I will remain here as long as I possibly can.” And so you remain, safe and snug in your watery world, even clinging to it as it gets more and more uncomfortable because without knowing it, you are growing out of it. And then one day, there comes this inexorable tug. And ready or not, the tug grows and grows until it is contracting and constricting into a terrible cataract, and all of a sudden those waters which had once kept you safe are now rushing you into a great unknown. . . .No return.” And here the priest paused. And we paused. We wiped the tears from our eyes.

Suddenly the blue sky was filled with balloons.

Happy Easter, dear ones. The tomb is empty so I can’t tell you what the One Earth will look like after it is showered with God's new life, but this is the day in which all those promises turn real. This is the day when the flimsy curtains part and we are given a glimpse of the big picture. This is the day when God touches us on the shoulder and says, “There is nothing you can do that I cannot make new.” That includes you. That includes me. That includes the entire Earth. Thank you for keeping this season with me. Blessings. Alleluia!

Coming Soon: The Sacred Imagination

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