by Corrie Cabes
We have walked the journey to the cross and beyond. We now find ourselves in a post-Lenten reorientation of our faith. The forward motion of the Lenten season now finds us joyfully looking for where to go next as Easter people. How are we raised into the resurrected life of Christ and what does this mean for us?
As we seek a bit of perspective, the General Thanksgiving on page 836 in the Book of Common prayer invites us to offer thanks to God “for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.”
We aren’t raised to our old lives, our often-repeated patterns, the dead places that separated us from God and our neighbor. We are raised to a new life in God’s kingdom. A life that calls us to have broad vista views with hearts alive with love for the risen Christ. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians reminds us:
“But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
Through the cross and God’s mercy we claim a different way of being. This is the growing season. This is the time where the Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin speaks of trusting in “the slow work of God.” Chardin reminds us that in the growing season, we may easily become impatient. Living in these Easter days, we know God is responsive to our needs. God in Christ, who walked toward terrible suffering and death, broke through the tomb on the third day, moves toward the next steps in a plan for perfect restoration. For us, and for all. We may want to fast forward a bit in this heady, bursting-with-joy season. We want God to act again on our behalf, but often on our time clock and with our permission. If we try to control the outcome, we miss the blessed journey. We miss the green, growing days. Chardin invites us into this season, to trust the “slow work” of God.
We are challenged to push out of our dried husks and find the green places in our spiritual lives, renewed by the Spirit, accepting that the God that molded us from the dust isn’t quite finished with us yet. These Easter days may begin to feel like another in-between time, but what a glorious opportunity! These growing days are truly ours. They are days to tend to ourselves, to notice, with great joy, who we are becoming in Christ. These are days to pay attention to others, to those near to us, and not so near. How can we watch for that new growth, that may unfold slowly, or even seems impossible? These are holy days, days we must not rush into, but savor.
“Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling
in suspense and incomplete.”
- Excerpt from Hearts of Fire by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ (Jesuit priest).