Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Change happens fast.
Not long ago I was walking quickly from one room to the next, excitedly thinking about something and not looking where I was going, and in a matter of seconds I had sprained my ankle.  Almost more than the pain, the realization that my prospects for the next few days (and potentially weeks) ahead had changed hit me like a blow.  How much more so for people in serious accidents must be the overwhelming feeling of sudden and irreversible change.

The incident just recounted happened to take place on Holy Saturday, and I soon found myself reflecting on the rapid changes the disciples saw during that eventful week we celebrate each year:  Jesus enters Jerusalem, triumphant king, masses of people going crazy and shouting their joy at his arrival.  Then, a few days later, they celebrate the Passover together and he breaks with the traditional teaching to say that he is the one that fulfills centuries of Passovers, that this piece of matzos is his body, this cup is his blood, that even the events of the Exodus point to him, their teacher sitting there with them.  Yet that very night, he is arrested, tried, and taken to die a horrendous death, the same crowds of Jerusalem yelling "crucify him"!  And only a week after they had entered the city to the welcoming shouts of the people, they find themselves huddled in a room behind locked doors, fearing that they too might follow to death the man they had thought to be the promised deliverer.  How might they have felt?

Fortunately God had one more change planned:  Christ arose, death swallowed up in life, darkness lost in light, sin and evil defeated by the wisdom and love and goodness of God; the cosmos was changed irrevocably by the power of God.

Yet in the past weeks I have come to realize that change also takes place slowly.  
Our bodies heal slowly.  The miracle of plant life, hidden beneath the frozen grays and dead browns of winter, emerges slowly each day.  Spiritual growth takes time; in fact it will take our whole life.  It takes time and discipline to enter the fullness of life Christ freely gives.

There seems to be a relation between both kinds of change - slow and fast.  For a plant, it takes weeks and months of waiting, of sun and of rain, before the blossom emerges and all of a sudden its appearance is transformed.  The slow change, initiated by the sudden fall to earth of a seed, results in another quick change, an unfolding of color.  Likewise with our spiritual life, the two are inextricably linked.  I leave you with this thought, and with the challenge to think on it and to persevere with the small changes asked of you.

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