Easter is a time of change. We are ready to awaken from the dark cold of winter’s womb and greet with wonder budding trees and spring flowers pushing up through the thawing black soil. It is a time to re-order our priorities, to make changes that will help us become more fully human, more fully alive, to remember that resurrection is a reality every moment, if we have eyes to see. Taking time to reflect in your journal about your feelings during the Easter season will help you keep alert to the signs of resurrection and wholeness outside and within. You may even find yourself slipping into the world of holiness and living anew.
week one: forgiveness
We have all experienced disappointment, hurt and betrayal in our lives. Sometimes those whom we most love, those from whom we expect the most, those for whom we "spend" ourselves, are the very ones who bring us the most pain. We have the choice of becoming resentful, hateful and bitter. Or, we can choose to stay in a place of unconditional love.
- Why is it hard for me to love and forgive without condition when I have been hurt? Who are the people that I need to forgive in order to re-claim my own soul?
While some people have a dramatic and momentous conversion, most of us experience conversion more as a process than an event. Conversion simply means turning—turning from one way of being to another way of being. Turning from self toward God. This turning is facilitated through our life experiences, the encounters we share, the moments of quiet that overtake us, the joys and sorrows that come our way, the heights and failures we endure, the people who walk the earth with us.
- What life experiences most stand out in my mind as moments of turning?
- Who are the people in my life who have helped pave the path of turning for me
- When I still my soul and make it quiet, how does the desire to "turn" rise in me
- What joys and sorrows have I experienced that have completely altered my life and my relationship with God?
- Sit in silence for the next 3 minutes and be aware of the beating of your heart. As you sit, ask yourself, "Who are the ones who claim my heart?" Record your reflections in your journal.
- Sit in silence for the next 3 minutes and be aware of the beating of your heart. As you sit, ask yourself, "What activities, thoughts, possessions have hold of my heart?" Record your reflections in your journal.
- Sit in silence for the next 3 minutes and be aware of the beating of your heart. As you sit, ask yourself, "Where is my heart at this moment?" Record your reflections in your journal.
Mystical experiences are not reserved for the well-known saints. Mystical experiences are more natural than we might think. Whenever we are unexpectedly touched by God in a way that is beyond description—in a way that takes us outside of ourselves— we are on the edge of a mystical experience. Sometimes these experiences come to us as images or visions, sometimes in a feeling of overwhelming love, sometimes in the presence of another, sometimes while alone in nature.
- When have I felt God so powerfully that I had no words to describe it? When have I felt so connected to the supernatural realm that I was uneasy or embarrassed about recounting my experience to others? When have I been so filled with love that it felt like my heart had escaped earth and touched heaven? When has the wondrousness of nature stopped my breath or made my heart flutter with awe?
pilgrims and travelers
Here we have no continuing city. Even though we live in earthly cities, we remain pilgrims, adventurers, and travelers on this planet. Our culture tempts us to "settle down," to become "rooted in place." Advertisers tell us to buy, buy, buy what will end up cluttering our lives and keeping us from simplicity. Credit card companies tell us to charge, charge, charge until we are sold for years into debt. Even religious institutions can hold us captive in a stolid and staid structure. But, the Holy One calls us to be readyto be prepared to forsake everything that is less than the best - to be so detached that we are able to detect grace in every place, in every person, in every situation.
- What does it mean for me to live as a pilgrim in this culture?
- When does detachment feel fearful to me? When does it feel like freedom?
- How can I make my own earthly community more like the community of heaven?
week six: new possibilities
Spring is a time of year when the heaviness of deep winter lifts, and lightness unfolds around us like petals. Our spirits feel lithe and hopeful. New possibilities lie before us like the pages of a book. Lost energy is regained, frayed hopes are mended, the darkness of sadness is turned to joy, and the future stands before us with new potential. The resurrection of Jesus is a symbol to us of the reality of that "newness." As we revel in a newfound vibrancy of spirit, we will find we need ways to concretize and bring to life the seeds of potentiality that quietly wait to be released in our life.
- What are the kernels of excitement within me that want to be birthed?
- How can I let go of old thinking in order to embrace new patterns, new models of being in this world?
- What are the three most important things I can do to begin the work of developing new possibilities, new potential?
- Who are the people who could be of most help to me as I seek to live into the newness I feel growing within me?
learning and growing
Because the world is in constant motion, and we are in a state of continual spiritual evolution, we need times to give ourselves over to the electric dynamism around us. It is probably true that if we are not learning and growing, we are on the slippery slope toward inner deterioration and death. We dwell within a never-ending stream of learning opportunities simply because creation is on-going, and we are a part of the creation of the world and ourselves. Perhaps now is the time to be serious about recognizing your part in that imaginative and inventive process.
- What are the questions of my soul that are longing for illumination?
- When am I afraid to break out of my comfort zone in order to learn something new?
- What contributions to the on-going creation of the world have I made this year?
- How is God calling me to learn and grow in my soul so that I may participate more fully in the development of a kingdom of love on earth?
Copyright 2005 explorefaith.org