Every year for Advent and Lent our family makes it a point to follow some kind of devotional for the season. Been doing that for over 40 years. But this year our son Brandon shared a new book with me that pointed out we seldom, if ever, celebrate the season of Eastertide, those 50 days from Easter to Pentecost that represented the middle of the year in the early church’s calendar. It was a time for following Jesus’ ministry from Easter until his bestowing of the Holy Spirit and his ascension.
The book is “Pauses for Pentecost: 50 Words for Easter People” by Trevor Hudson. (Click on the book to go to Amazon for a preview.) I took a look at it night before last knowing darn well I had more than enough on my blogging plate with both the April A to Z Challenge and Camp NaNoWriMo going on, but I love the words the author has chosen and the devotionals that go along with them. So I’m going to give blogging my way through it a shot! Yes, I know. I’m a glutton for punishment (and other foodie things… 😉 ) I’m a couple days behind, but hopefully I can catch up!
Day 1 (Easter Sunday)
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first
day of the week,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake,
for an angel of the Lord came down
from heaven and,
going to the tomb, rolled back the
stone and sat on it.
In his devotion, Hudson talks about how Easter is a time for US to rise up like Jesus, albeit not in the same way. It’s a time or us to begin our journey afresh each year after the Lenten season of examining our lives to see if and how we’re growing to be more like him.
Hudson also points out that, like Jesus, there are stones in our lives that have to be rolled away if we are to move on in our journeys. What do those stones look like? Hard? Cold? Unresponsive? Whatever they look or feel like, they leave less room for us to connect with God. They leave no room for wonder and awe. With them impeding our journey our faith becomes dull, bland, and gray. Still there, but diminished somehow.
Or those stones may present themselves in more destructive ways. Self-righteousness, resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness, even hatred. Or how about stones of grief, failure, negativism, cynicism, or guilt. These are not part of the life that Jesus wants us to experience.
The season of Eastertide is a time for us to relinquish our hearts of stone and let him turn them into Spirit-filled hearts of flesh — warm, accepting, loving…
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I have multiple stones that get in the way of my journey from time to time. One is called stubbornness. Another is pride. And still another — at least from my point of view — is illness. There are others that I struggled with during my introspection of Lent. Enough that I could have felt quite overwhelmed except for one thing. I know Jesus wants to be here in my life in the power of his Spirit that I may come alive again to the presence of God, myself, others, and the whole of Creation. And that really is good news.
At the end of his devotion for Day 1, Hudson suggests that we go outside and find a stone to represent whatever it is that’s stopping us from living our lives fully. We’re to write on it one word describing that stone in our heart, offer it up to God, then throw that sucker as far away as we can. Personally, I think that sounds like a great idea!
Are there stones in your life that YOU struggle with?
Eastrtide — http://tnl.org/talks/eastertide-2018-easter-sunday
Pauses for Pentecost — Amazon
Stone — Dani3D – DeviantArt
Heart — Homeless in America – Blogspot