What symbol of rebirth or resurrection do you need in your life these days? As we approach year three of the global pandemic, maybe you are like me and are feeling the need for new life and a new way through!
During my time at the Abbey of Gethsemani last week, I found a sketch of a phoenix that I drew sometime in 2021. I actually don’t remember when I drew it or what I was thinking about or listening to at the time, but the discovery of this drawing was just what Jesus wanted me to find and use during my time of silence at the Abbey. I needed a visual reminder of resurrection and rebirth! Through this drawing, Jesus was giving me hope that new life and new things were happening in me! Resurrection was/is possible!
The Phoenix is a mythical bird most recently made famous in the Harry Potter series. The Phoenix builds its nest, burns up and then a new Phoenix rises from the ashes. The Phoenix is a vivid symbol of resurrection in Christianity
Maybe you too need the words of Isaiah 61
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities,
take the rubble left behind and make it new.
Rising from the Ashes…we can all use some bouquets instead of Ashes…
What does rising from the Ashes look like for you? Talk to Jesus about this.
Consider the people in the Bible who rose from the Ashes to a renewed life and a new purpose … people like Joseph, Moses, Peter…
Who else? What can we learn from them about how God renews all things?
We need some help to rise… Rising from the Ashes
THE DEATH OF A DREAM OR FEELING LOST…A great book to help us rise from the ashes of the last few years is SAY YES: Discover the Surprising Life Beyond the Death of a Dream. Scott Erickson is a good friend, spiritual director, and a wonderful artist who inspires me daily on Instagram. @scotthepainter
Here’s my Amazon review: “As someone who easily puts all losses into the “failure box, ” I needed this book! Especially after the last two years of the pandemic! Scott Erickson gives us a visual road map out of fear, anxiety and the stuckness of giving up! It is an honest book, filled with stories that bring hope as Scott understands the brokenness of life. As a creative and visual learner, I am looking for people who can bring their ideas to life. As a person of faith, I am in need of storytellers who inspire me to go deeper and impact my real life and all its craziness.”
THE SIN OF RACISM One of the books that is helping me rise from the ashes of racism is Subversive Witness by Dominique Dubois Gilliard. What does the Bible say about our privilege and how we can use it to change our world? I really needed this book to give me hope and give me a different perspective beyond the noise of the media.
Another voice I need in my life right now to help clear out the ashes is Lisa Sharon Harper. I’ve followed her on Instagram for years and know of her work, but sadly haven’t read her book The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong can be Made Right Again. I just ordered it and her new book too: Fortune: How Race Broke My Family and the World–and How to Repair It All that launched February 8th.
We all need help finding the Shalom of God again! Here is a taste !
Lent begins on March 2nd this year. How can we see our Lenten journey as a resurrection from the ashes? What do you and I need to help us receive the words in Isaiah 61…
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
We’d love you to join us SATURDAY, FEB. 26th for our Lenten Retreat “FINDING BEAUTY in the ASHES of LENT” to start your Lenten Journey. We will record it so you can participate later if you are already booked on that day.