March 13, 2013

Sometimes our lives may seem like a merry-go-round, always being busy, never stopping, with the clangs of outside noise pressing in upon us. Lent is a time for slowing down, for coming to know where we came from, where we are and where we want to be. The demands of living may seem to dry us up, to take away our spirit. Borrowing the words of the 63rd Psalm we may seem parched, lifeless and without water. We feel a yearning for something more. We need to take time out, to remember the times in our lives when we found God present, whether in acts of kindness shown us by others, a beautiful vista, a sunset, in music, in art, in stillness, in the fragrance of Spring or Autumn, the events for which we are thankful. Past hurts, pettiness, impatience, anger, envy, jealousy, frustrations, derision whether of our own making or done by others may also come to mind and irk us. That is the time to talk about them with God in prayer.

O God, you are my God—
it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns;
for you my soul thirsts,
In a land parched, lifeless,
and without water

If faith means anything, it means first of all that God loves us, that God sustains us and is our companion amid the trials and the joys of living. Contemplating our past, present and future gives us the opportunity to appreciate and cherish our story. We come to realize God’s mercy, understanding, kindness, forgiveness, healing. Perhaps we also begin to see the need to change some of the patterns in our lives that weaken or destroy relationships with others. A call to greater compassion may strike and enliven us.

Jesus was willing to accept the consequences of announcing the Good News of God’s Love for all. That was a threat to those in power, to those who relied on power and control for their status. Ultimately they killed him. But new life came on Easter. Listen to the words of the hymn:

Now the Green Blade Riseth

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
love lives again, that with the dead has been:
love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

In the grave they laid him, love whom men had slain,
thinking that never he would wake again,
laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
love is come again like wheat the springeth green.

Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,
he that for three days in the grave had lain,
quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving in pain,
thy touch can call us back to life again,
fields of hearts that dead and bare have been:
love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

© Oxford University Press

Fr. John Comiskey