Jesus’ Song Lives On
Last week we had a 4 month old puppy stay with us overnight. He had been surrendered to Bright Eyes Dog Rescue a month earlier and had been living on a farm a few hours away. He was now at our house waiting for his new family and for his new life to begin.
Peanut was a huge puppy – a 40 lb Bernese Cross. He was a bright spirit, filled with energy.
I got up around 6:00 am and we went outside. The sun was rising and it was cold- about 10 below. I sat on the step snuggled in my parka and he lay on the frozen ground chewing on a stick. I heard the sound of a song bird- a single note – and wondered how the creature had made it through the frigid night. The bird kept on with its single note and gradually the notes grew stronger, longer and more melodic. Then other birds joined in. Soon there was an early morning chorus of bird song.
I looked up and saw a squirrel in the tree. Peanut also saw the squirrel and watched intently as it jumped from limb to limb, and then from one tree to another. He raced over to the foot of the tree, sure that he could jump up to catch the critter. He tried several times and then gave up. He had been outsmarted.
As I watched the scene I thought about the Easter gospel stories set at the tomb at dawn. Why did the women come at dawn? What were the writers trying to tell us?
Historians say that this was the earliest that they could come to properly prepare Jesus body for burial.
If we look at the story symbolically - then dawn takes on another layer of meaning.
The dawn is a time, of stillness and possibility.
Just as the robin’s song began as a single, quiet note and then grew stronger – so does the song of Life in the midst of death.
In the Easter story one quiet voice brought the news that death’s powers had not had the final say.
Jesus song of Love would not be silenced by the powers of death
The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus song of love for the world began as the awareness of one person, then a few people, and grew stronger and stronger.
That song of love for the world is alive today. Listen for its call.
It is calling you and me into acts of care and compassion in this time of fear and loss.
It is in these acts of care- acts as simple as a phone call to a friend or family member; a call to a senior who is in lock down in a seniors care home; messages of support to front line workers; support where ever people are struggling ; or in just simply saying “I love you” to family and friends- that we continue to share his song of love.
As we sing his song this day let us also pay attention to the birds, and to the pulse of life in all living things.
Like Peanut and the squirrel- lets play as much as we can.
A Prayer for Holy Week 2020
A Prayer for Holy Week" 2020
by Jamie Lynn Haskins, co-editor, Acting on Faith
adapted by L Sundberg
Friend Jesus , we have walked this Holy Week
road before, but never quite like this.
As always, palms are behind us, shouts of “hosanna”
ringing in our ears.
As always, we look toward your
death with grief,
with great hope.
As always, you are here with us through it all.
Yes, we have walked
this Holy Week road before,
but never quite like this.
We hear the gospel story -
nails will pierce the cross,
and we will mourn in our homes rather than in our pews.
This year your body
will be placed in the tomb,
and we will await word from those faithful women
as we shelter in place.
This year, resurrection will come
(it always comes) and we will shout “hallelujah,”
rejoicing in our living rooms,
across computer screens,
over conference lines,
because this year,
as in every year,
you are still with us.
Yes, we have walked
this Holy Week road
before, but never quite like this.
May we remember, Holy One,
that in every familiar and unfamiliar step,
every “hosanna,” every “hallelujah,”
every Zoom call and every text,
you are with us.
As we walk this Holy Week road remind us--
in death, in resurrection,
in joy and grief,
in the unknown and the liminal space between,
we are not alone
we are still a beloved people.
Resurrection will indeed come.
Jamie Lynn Haskins is Chaplain for Spiritual Life at the University of Richmond, Virginia, and is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She is the co-editor with Diane Faires Beadle of the new book, Acting on Faith: Stories of Courage, Activism, and Hope Across Religions.
Two Wings of Awareness
The reflection that you are about to read came to me in a group email. It is a beautiful reflection for our
Two wings of awareness, from John Philip Newell
From John Philip Newell’s blog on the Heartbeat website:
24th March, 2020:
Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th-century Christian mystic, said that we need to fly with two wings of
awareness. The one wing is an awareness of life’s glory and beauty. The other is an awareness of life’s
pain and suffering. If we try to fly with only one of these, she said, we will be like an eagle trying to fly
with only one wing. In other words, we will not truly see.
We are living through a moment in time that invites a new strength of awareness. We are hearing
stories from around the world today of terrible suffering and loss. And, at the same time, we are hearing
accounts of great beauty of spirit and love.
I pray for all of us these days that we may be strong in our seeing and in our loving of another. As one of
the prayers in Sounds of the Eternal puts it:
Let us serve love with our strength this day, let us serve love with our strength.
In heart and mind and body this day let us serve love.
John Philip Newell is a former Warden of Iona Abbey, a teacher and an author.
These are bible words often delivered by angels. Fear not.
A friend said the other day that he felt that our culture was caught between hyper-fear and denial.
I heard that and something in me relaxed. The media has been certainly playing on the exaggerated worse case scenario on some stations. Is this helpful? Will that make those of us tanning on the shores of the de-Nile River change our ways?
Last week I woke up in the night or first thing in the morning filled with anxiety. It is easing now. It was not about “what is” in my present existence - it was about all the “what could be happening” outside of my family. These are things that I can’t control.
It gives me pause to reflect on the times and places in our world where others have not and do not have control too. Those who lived in concentration camps during the Holocaust/Shoah. Those who live in areas of war today. Those in Palestine and Gaza.
I just read an article that talked about public health in Jesus day. Catching an infection could kill you - if the Romans didn’t. The gospels remind us of a way of living and a way of being that acknowledges our fear, or worries, but invites us into a reality beyond what we can see.
What is an antidote for this virus of fear and denial? Breathe deeply of the love in your life. Breathe deeply of gratitude for the beauty in life. Breathe in love, breathe out fear. Breathe in peace, breathe out worry – if only for a breath at a time.
We are all connected by the Great Mystery that we experience and name in different ways. Within us, among us is, beyond us there is a power and presence greater than ourselves moving and inviting is into
Life in its Fullness. You may name this presence and power God -a God that you best connect to as an intelligent being. You may connect with God as a verb- found in human life-giving action; there is Spirit, Life, Something More. Different religions have different names.
In the classic Book “Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People” Rabbi Harold Kushner says there are times when we don’t have control over what happens to us – but we do have control over how we respond.
One way to combat fear is to look for the helpers. There are many. In Regina the Salvation Army has bag lunch drop off locations. The Sikh community is feeding people. Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church is bagging food as part of their church food bank program and handing it out.
Breathe deeply. Look for the helpers. Be a helper. Reach out. Fear not.
Prayer of Renewal
God of many names, known in different ways;
We pause and reflect this day.
Our world is filled with both chaos and blessing.
In these times it is easy to get buried in the fear and chaos,
and forget that your power calls us into the light of blessing.
Whether we are in tears or in a time of wonder
We are Beloved of God.
Empower us to be a force for life in its fullness in our time.
Sing From Your Balcony
I am inspired by news reports of people singing on their balconies. First reports were from Italy. People living in close quarters but who can’t go out are connecting via both music and talking to others from their balconies.
What is inspiring to me is that someone came up with the idea and did it. Then it caught on.
I have a friend who is singing a song each day using her Karaoke program and send it to friends on Messenger.
This is the sacred power of creativity in our world. Divine creating and recreating power, loving and transforming power, being expressed in our giftedness.
Use your gifts in the service of others in this time. Go back to the simple things.
Let your gifts sing out to others that we are not alone.
Let your God Song reverberate in the hearts of others.