Today’s prayer is one I wrote a couple of years ago as I sat at mother’s bedside during her final illness. It has been revolving in my mind again over the last few days as Tom and I have said goodbye to yet another beloved member of our family – our golden retriever Bonnie.
In light of this it seemed very fitting to me that our theme for these last few days of Lent is DEATH and DARKNESS.
We like to turn away from death. Yet so often death in the form of a lost job or failed expectations is necessary for God’s newness to emerge. Sometimes when we look back we are aware that God has been prompting us in new directions for a while but the security and comfort of the old holds us bound. God in love and compassion forces us to die and let go.
Jesus says: If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. (Matt 10:39)
Jesus did not cling to life. He needed to die for God’s new world to burst into being. And in the midst of his death the dreams and hopes of all his followers were put to death too.
But they too needed to die so that the new reality God wanted them to give birth to, a world of abundance, and wholeness and completeness could emerge.
The journey of faith is a cycle of birth, growth, fruit and death. And in the place of death we often find the seeds of new life – the longings and desires of our hearts that we have suppressed because change and radical newness threaten our comfortable status quo.
Like Jesus we endure death so that we can enter into life. We endure the loss and heartache that comes with losing people and things we love and look beyond to the new world of God. The center of the Easter story is resurrection not crucifixion. I think sometimes we forget that. We run away from death and yet in some ways we cling to it too.
Two questions emerge for me from this reflection. First: What does God want to put to death in your life that you are still clinging to?
For those who feel they are in a season of death: What are the seeds of newness God is planting within you during this season? What are your dreams and hopes from the past that might be birthed into something totally new at this time?