As I read Matthew’s Gospel chapter 25, I was reminded of the first time I saw people lined up outside a Soup Kitchen. My heart ached as I watched mothers with small children, elderly men and women some with canes waiting in the cold for a simple meal of soup and bread. I just knew that I would have to find a way to volunteer even if it were just once a week, and so I did. I invited several young students to come with me. Each week we came away feeling so good about ourselves. It was such a great feeling to do something good for people in need.
As I was walking around the beautiful grounds at the Genesis Spiritual Life Center in Westfield, MA, I noticed a very large area of just plain soil where once stood a beautiful maple tree. At first glance it appeared to be just an “eye-sore” in the midst of outstanding beauty. And yet there was something about it that caused me to stop and ponder. After some time I sensed a life-giving energy emanating from within this grayish -brown mass. I thought, “This indeed is Holy Ground, what seems so unappealing is the source of all this external beauty!”
“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” (Gal. 22-23)•May 21, 2015 • 2 Comments
Of the many flowering trees that come alive in the spring, my favorite is the apple tree. I love its delicate blossoms with the varying shades of pink and its delightful scent that fills the entire yard. Watching the blossoms fall and disappear always left me with a hint of sadness until one day I decided to walk over and take a real close look. I noticed where the blossoms had been were now the beginnings of tiny, green apples the size of a pea. As I reflected on this experience I realized that fruit trees can teach us a lot about life. The delightful blossoms may be compared to the “honey-moon” stage – new beginnings which can be so delightful but which fade over time. It is so important to remember that feelings come and feelings go like the blossoms that while delightful are only temporary. Beneath these feelings the nourishing fruit of our lives is slowly growing.
One of my favorite pastimes is walking in the woods. When I was younger, I loved mountain climbing. Fall and spring found me with a group of students climbing to the top of Mt. Pleasant. These experiences taught us so much about our life’s journey. While our goal was always to reach the summit the only way to succeed was to carefully watch every step. So much could be lost by not paying attention; there was the physical danger of tripping and falling, and there was also the danger of missing the beauty that surrounded us as we made our way to the top.
Have you ever wondered why you seldom, if ever, hear people speak of their “Journey through Easter?” We often refer to our Lenten journey but how many of us have heard others tell of their Easter journey? And yet, these seven weeks of Easter are exactly that for which we had been preparing during the forty days of Lent. Now is the time when we are invited to walk ever more deeply into this “New Life” promised and fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
There were no eyewitnesses when Jesus rose from the dead therefore the author of each Gospel has his own way of relating the Easter event. All we know for certain is that anyone who went to the tomb that day found it empty, Jesus body was not there. However we have the witness of those who saw him that day, who spoke and ate with him and listened to his words of Peace and Hope. These experiences were so powerful that even today over 2 000 years later we still find our hearts burning with love for this Man of Nazareth who loved us to the end and who walks with us even today as we continue our own personal journey with all its up and downs, its joys and sorrows. Have you ever noticed how we keep on going despite what often appears to be insurmountable obstacles on the road ahead?
I love many things when spring finally happens here in Maine. I love the first crocus that appears as the snow against the house begins to melt; the song of the robin that is heard sometimes a week or so before it is seen; the first bud that appears on the seemingly dead branches of the lilac bush outside my window; and I especially love the evenings when the days become a little longer and we can walk outside and watch the sun disappear behind the mountains on the other side of Sebago Lake. On the other hand there are things that I do not even like leave alone love; the heavy rain and wind that prevent the use of an umbrella, especially the mud which follows which we must go through if we are to enjoy the beauties of late spring and early summer.