Holy Week is all about LOVE.
I hope you’ve enjoyed journeying with the Brothers of The Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE) and their daily postings throughout Lent on, “It’s time to…STOP, PRAY, WORK, PLAY and LOVE.” I enjoyed the message each morning and contemplated it as the day unfolded. In the evening, I’d take some time to examine the day, learning how the word had changed either my thinking or behavior, or storing it away for deeper contemplation at another time.
It was a taste of the cycle of monastic life, particularly the reminder to periodically STOP what I was doing for rest. Time is the most precious currency I have, yet I often squander it on things that have no meaning. Rest for renewal and re-vigoration re-sets our paths and allows Christ to enter into the space, rather than Him having to chase after us to get our attention.
Rest was important for me in 2006 when I started making the transition from a pew-sitter to a disciple. I’d reached 50 and my life was safe without many concerns. Then breast cancer struck, followed by a divorce less than 2 years later. My world as I had known it ended. My immediate reaction was to find another mate who would share their life with me and care for me as I got older, sheltering me from the pain.
But instead of repeating the same mistakes, I STOPPED.
And then I PRAYED.
I share this story with you because I got “stuck” at “PRAY” for a 3-year period. I’d have days when I wanted my old life back, with all its guilt and shame. But then I’d STOP and PRAY. I started going to a daily worship service at my church where I heard that God loves me and I’d be refreshed. But, by the end of the day, I didn’t believe that he could love a sinner like me and I’d be plunged again into shame.
Every morning, I kept showing up at church and I’d hear again, “God loves you.”
Eventually I turned from feeling that God was a God of punishment and instead that He is a God of LOVE. It was a slow and gradual progression until I finally believed the words, all day long. Br. David Vryhof summed it up in his post, BELOVED, “…our chief identify is as a beloved child of God.”
For 3 years my journey was STOP and PRAY. STOP and PRAY. STOP and PRAY. At the end of the three years, my journey has become STOP, PRAY, ACCEPT GOD’S LOVE, WORK, PLAY, LOVE OTHERS.
Br. David Allen stated the truth , “We love because God first loved us.”
May you have a blessed Holy Week and a renewing Easter!