Beloved St. John’s community,
Every spiritual path has its unique genius, and Jesus’ Way of Love Is no exception. At the heart of our faith is what we call the “paschal mystery”—that insistence that in the death and resurrection of Jesus, hope, new life, love and connection will ultimately triumph over despair, death, violence and isolation—and not just at the end of time, but in small ways in our own lives and in our world. But what does this look like in actual reality?
It looks like the woman who once shared her story with me, saying that after years of staying in a relationship where her partner systematically diminished, silenced and invalidated her, she had the courage to leave and to prioritize her spiritual journey. She chose to begin life again and came to church that year on Ash Wednesday and was encouraged and to find that our church is honest about mortality, loss, and evil, but we do not get stuck there.
It looks like the woman my friend Rebecca visited in El Salvador in the 1980s, whose child had been tortured in front of her, and who said that she could never lose hope because of the resurrection of Jesus who also suffered horribly, and who could not be defeated.
It looks like you and I choosing love and connection instead of staying stuck in our preoccupations or Netflix binge when our spouse or friend or child comes to us seeking companionship or support.
It looks like deciding that because we follow Jesus’ way of love, we can drastically reduce our thoughtless consumption of single use plastic which harms the countless creatures in the ocean whom God created and called very good.
It looks like choosing to believe that Jesus is not an impossibly high mythical standard we can never live up to, but instead to experience his utter union between divine and human as our own birthright. We can believe we are capable of healing, love and generosity. We can become healers in need of healing, and we can be a small demonstration plot of what a different way of being looks like.
Where are you tempted to get stuck in downward spirals, hopelessness, cynicism or selfishness? What if the resurrection of Jesus represents the level of hope and life that can come to you in those areas?
It starts with believing that change is possible. I know our faith talks a lot about belief, but in the end it’s not about believing “doctrine”. It’s about believing that our lives can be different and then taking small steps in the direction of life, praying constantly, asking God for help and knowing that we will receive abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine. How would Jesus and his way of love make a difference in our lives if we choose to believe that change and healing are possible?
During the fifty days of Eastertide, consider taking on a practice as a counterpart to whatever you did during lent. I invite you to share this practice with me and with one another. Let’s see if we can recognize the shoots and sprouts of this new life in our community. May it be so!
With love and joy,