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Tasting the Gifts of Lent and Easter Every Day

By The Rev. James D. Findlay

James FindlayFor those of us traveling the path of faith, recent seasons of the Church calendar are particularly fruitful times for considering our spiritual practices.  Lent is designed for that!  It is a time of year when we in the Northern Hemisphere experience the steady lengthening of the days and the increase of Light; and our tradition has utilized this natural cycle of experience as a time to deepen and enrich our inner lives as we approach a great Spring Festival of increasing Life, Birth, Rebirth, and Renewal.  Many of us make vows, and keep some of them, to experience a “Holy Lent” through regular times of focused prayer, and allowing God’s Presence to fill up the empty spaces we find when we “let go” of certain activities, habits, or behaviors.  And Easter always comes, blessing us with New Life again, as it does this year and every year

Lent is truly a holy time.  But can we sustain our connection to God which we have nurtured and tasted in this sacred season?  Easter is the Day of our greatest joy. Can we carry the joy of Easter’s experience of Resurrection through the rising and falling tides of experience in the times ahead?  Can we gain continued strength for our many tasks and the courage we need for the struggle for justice and peace in a deeply troubled world?

Our greatest resource for being God’s people, doing God’s will, and receiving God’s Spirit and its power for the tasks of life and faith, is to nurture our awareness of God’s Presence.  God is always with us, in us, and in all things.  Though our knowledge, understanding, and perception is limited, God is unlimited.  God is constantly “Immanuel,” the Divine-With-Us.  Our spiritual practice offers us the gifts of Lenten discipline and Easter renewal throughout our lives, each day.

We must always begin with and return to our breath.  Gen. 2:7 tells us, “YHWH God shaped the human of dust from the soil, and he blew into its nostrils the breath of life, and thus the human being became a living creature.”  God created us by filling us with God’s Own Divine Breath, the breath of life.  With each in breath, we receive God’s Spirit into our bodies and our lives.  With each out breath, we return this Spirit to the One, and release our life energy into the life of the world.  This happens in all things; we need not think of it; it is a natural pulse of life in us and through us.  But when we are attentive to it, we taste, simply and sublimely, God’s Spirit in our spirit.  God’s Life in our life.  As we go about our daily rounds, waking or sleeping, the flowing of the Spirit, the inward and outward tide of the breath, is constant, steady, unfailing.  Being aware of the breath, we are aware of the ongoing blessing of God’s presence.

Daily tasks which may seem like “chores” or “burdens” can, with a slight shift in perception, become opportunities for meditation.  Doing dishes, cooking food, sweeping the floor (I prefer a broom to a vacuum cleaner for attention to the Spirit!), cleaning surfaces with sponge or mop, washing our hands: each of these, as we savor its repeated simplicity and beauty, can be experienced as times of being in God’s embrace.  Our movements become a dance in which God is also dancing; outward actions are time when God sustains and cleanses, as we clean or prepare sustenance for ourselves and those we love.  Spiritual gifts gained during Lent can be experienced daily, if we open ourselves to them.

Although Easter is a day of Resurrection, each day can be experienced as an Easter.  The Greek word, “anastasis,” simply means “stand up.”  So each morning, as we rise from our beds, we rise to New Life.  Each day we rise to deeper, fuller, richer Life, growing ever closer to God in our going out and coming in, lying down and rising up.  Each night we sleep, and rest in God’s comforting dark embrace.  Each morning we stand again, and create our lives in our actions and thoughts.  Each day, then is an Easter Day!

Let us be attentive to our breath as the blessing of God’s Spirit.  Let us experience all our work, at home or away, as work with and in God.  And may our times of rest and renewal be times to taste of Easter Joy, as we stand in the Divine Presence, and return to it.  May the gifts of Lent and Easter bless us, throughout the year, and throughout our lives!
Note from author: Please feel free to contact me via e-mail at sleight_of_time@yahoo.com .  I wish to engender a conversation among us about how the Word and Spirit are active in our lives, and how we might nurture these gifts further. I also am happy to work with groups and individuals on how to nurture the Word and Spirit among us. Please visit my Facebook Page at   https://www.facebook.com/jamesd.Findlay as another way of being in this sacred conversation. I look forward to hearing from many of you soon!

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