A couple of days ago we celebrated the equinox, that day that occurs every six months when the sun sits directly above the Equator. On an equinox, roughly half the planet is light while the other half is dark. Here in the U.S. it is the official start of spring which is a little confusing for me as I celebrated the start of autumn in Australia on March 1st. That is because there are two ways of defining the seasons. Those that use the astronomical seasons change at the equinox, those that use the meteorological seasons changed on March 1st.
The celebration of the changing seasons is something that we all relish. Here in Seattle the daffodils are now in full bloom and flowering trees greet me wherever I go. Unfortunately, this year the changing seasons also made me aware of what a challenging climate environment we face. “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all” according to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to the report, earth is likely to cross a critical threshold for global warming within the next decade, and nations will need to make an immediate and drastic shift away from fossil fuels to prevent the planet from overheating dangerously beyond that level.
News like this can overwhelm us and make us feel that there is no hope of making a difference. It lies very heavily on my heart. Yet there is hope. All of us can make a difference and it begins with changing our perspectives and recognizing the central place that God’s love for creation plays in the biblical story. This is the focus of Saturday’s retreat Preparing for the Garden Walk of Holy Week. As we approach the events of Holy Week this is particularly relevant. Earth participates in each step of the story. From the waving of palms and Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem on a donkey, through the garden of Gethsemane to the crescendo of earthquakes and splitting tombs at the moment of Christ’s crucifixion, and on to Easter when life overcomes death and Jesus is proclaimed as the gardener of the new creation. I believe this retreat will change your experience of Holy Week and your relationship to creation. So don’t forget it is time to sign up.
In yesterday’s Monday Meditation – Walls That Create Barriers to Peace I said “If there is one practice that should be established and reinforced during Lent, it is that of listening. Listening with our ears and our hearts. Listening with a willingness to be changed by what we hear and with a desire to see life differently than we have in the past. What if I rethink who I am not in terms of what Christ has done for me, but in terms of what Christ wants to do through me for others?” This is a time for listening, for rethinking, for refocusing, and for me God’s love for creation is at the centre.
This week to the delight of many, I started posting the beautiful Taize style services from St Andrews Episcopal church again. It was not possible while I was away in Australia so I am very glad they are once again available to refresh and renew us.
Friday was St. Patrick’s Day and Carol Dixon posted a beautiful reflection and worship service for us to enjoy. Then on Saturday Karen and Karen provided another beautiful painting and reflection Love Covers for our enjoyment.
With Palm Sunday only a couple of weeks away I wanted to highlight the resources we have available for Holy Week. My favourite is the Stations of the Cross which provides perspectives from many parts of the world on Jesus’ walk towards the Cross. I also highly recommend our free downloads Maundy Thursday Agape Liturgy and A Journey Into God’s Resurrection-created World.
Many blessings on you as you continue your walk towards Holy Week,