Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Impermanence and change

When life is simpler, there are moment that we would like to hold on to and keep for ourselves. Just a couple of weeks ago, Peter blurted out to his friends at the moment of Jesus' Transfiguration, "Lord, it is good we are here. Let us build three booths...one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah. We can remain here!" An object lesson that God has no patience for this human need to hold on to the past and reject the present moment-because that is when the mist covers them all and the Voice reminds them to listen to Jesus. And in that moment, Jesus says that they have to move on from the mountain-top. They can't linger.

Still, we want to hold on to things, moments, people/relationships. They reassure us and give us a sense of place and identity. There is that favorite chair of my great-grandfather that sits in the living room of my mother's house. I love to sit there...but it is amazing how that eternal symbol of family has shrunk over the years-or is it my own love of sweets and large portions that have caused my own seat to grow over time? There is that moment in the spring when the sun hits my shoulders as I stand in the garden of wherever Laura and I are living and I am warmed by the light and grace of a new season's promise of growth and green. After a long winter, that is a change I look forward to, by God's grace.

Impermanence presses in on us and reminds us that aside from the illusions of past and future, the one true gift we are offered by God from the seat of eternity is NOW. Now is the time we live in. Now is when we draw breath, offer love, experience loss and understand ourselves to be alive.

Lent, for me...and I hope for you...is a time of getting back into the now of life. It is about being more firmly aware of appetite, or of need. It is about taking in what is needed and in setting aside what is appurtenance.

As I sat in my office this morning, mulling over the past few days and beginning to think about Holy Week and Easter as they loom in the near future, I lifted my eyes up from desk and computer to see a curtain is icicles outside my window. With the morning light breaking across them, they were like knobby prisms. That curtain of cold was just different enough from what I expected to see (the usual view of the back of the church sign and the houses across the street), that I was brought up short.

And, in a moment, once they were noticed, there was a crunch and a thump....and they were gone. Just enough sun in the right spot and their own weight pulled them off the gutter and brought them to the ground.

Passing thing of beauty...and then my mind turns to work, to what is needed here and now.

Thank you, God...Jesus, it is time to turn toward Jerusalem, after all...."Take up your cross...."

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