Listening to Lent — Shades of Life Falling

mapleApril 

I want Jesus to walk with me
I want Jesus to walk with me
All along my pilgrim journey
I want Jesus to walk with me

In my trial, Lord, walk with me
In my trials, Lord, walk with me
When the shades of life are falling
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me

In my sorrow, Lord walk with me
In my sorrows, Lord walk with me
When my heart is aching
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me

In my troubles, Lord walk with me
In my troubles, Lord walk with me
When my life becomes a burden,
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me

~Spiritual

What more can I hope for
than to never be alone
in my fears, my worries, my troubles, my burdens,
when my heart aches with the joy
that God is here, with me, for me,
and I am here, with Him, for Him,
because of Him.

Even Me

photo by Josh Scholten

There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.
John Calvin

It is too easy to become blinded to the glory surrounding us if we allow it to be routine and commonplace.  I can’t remember the last time I celebrated a blade of grass,  given how focused I am mowing it into conformity.  Too often I’m not up early enough to witness the pink sunrise or I’m too busy to take time to watch the sun paint the sky red as it sets.

I miss opportunities to rejoice innumerable times a day.  It takes only a moment of recognition and appreciation to feel the joy, and for that moment time stands still.  Life stretches a little longer when I stop to acknowledge the intention of creation as an endless reservoir of rejoicing.   If a blade of grass, if a palette of color, if all this is made for joy, then so am I.

Even colorless commonplace me.

So am I.

photo by Josh Scholten

Called to Advent–rejoicing

photo by Josh Scholten

…and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
Luke 1:47

(As servants of God)..sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

2 Corinthians 6:10

There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.

John Calvin

Americans must be the most privileged people on earth yet we still grumble despite living in freedom in relative security. There is so little joy in our modern age of abundance. Is our cup half empty or half full? Why do we groan about what we lack and not stop to appreciate what all we have been given?

Rejoicing is expressing delight at what is, and having no regrets about what is not. There can be joy in times of sadness, we can be enriched by sharing what we have, and fulfilled without accumulating every material possession. As Augustine says: a happy life is rejoicing to God, of God and for God. He didn’t mention a larger house, faster car, exotic vacations, or the best plastic surgery.

So we read the words of profound joy expressed by Mary when her life is suddenly turned upside down and her body no longer in her control. She is happy and willing because she trusts the Lord despite all the unknowns. The shepherds, the lowest segment of society just above lepers, were first to be given a message of praise and glory from the heavens. Once their fear abated, they became so joyful and excited, they wanted to share all they had heard and seen with anyone who would listen.

It is our turn now. It is time to be gruntled, not disgruntled, happy to be alive instead of sorrowful, so we might rejoice mightily in the infinite gift we’ve been given.

This is it; there is no other.


And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other.

Augustine

Adoration of the Shepherds by Correggio