A Stick in the Ground

It was a gift from friends after we had moved into our house a year and a half ago, a Magnolia Bush. We planted it in the corner of the backyard hoping to protect it from the elements, mainly the elements named Simeon and Mozart. It was a bit scraggly but with rich shiny green leaves. I noticed it back in its corner several times this last winter, it looked a bit like Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree but not as green. Really, it looked like a stick stuck in the ground.
Yesterday afternoon TruDee and I were working in the back yard amid the dead grass and brown garden plants as we began the work of getting garden space ready and doing a little landscaping. Pondering the stick in the corner caused me to reflect on this week and Easter.
By the time this writing reaches those of you who read it we will be approaching or even be past Maundy Thursday and perhaps even Good Friday. This is Holy Week for the church, the annual journey from the party atmosphere of Palm Sunday to the depths of despair of Friday and the death of the One we follow.
I have for a long time said this week contains the length and breadth of the human experience. We can find ourselves singing and dancing in the streets when our lives and faith are filled with joy and in an instant be crushed under life gone terribly wrong.
I would encourage us all to ponder the journey from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. I would encourage us all to not jump to the joy of new life and Easter joys too soon before spending some time in touch with and awake to the whole of the journey. Without the sacred darkness we might not know the joy of a brilliant sunrise. Without the flower going to seed and laying fallow we might not know the newness of a blossom in the spring. Without the despair of dying to an old way we might never now the newness of rising up into a new Way filled with justice, compassion, and love.
The reflection was prompted because our stick planted in the corner of the yard was filled with big, bold, colorful pink and white buds prepared to open blossoms in a very short time. One of the buds was just beginning to open and share its beauty with the brown fallow garden space it shared.
So on this journey of human experience gather with friends and family on Thursday and share a little bread and a little wine, reminisce, tell the stories of life and faith, and cherish time spent together. On Friday tarry for a while with the struggles of life, acknowledge the darkness that can envelope our hearts and souls, remember what might have been, and trust even here in the valley of struggle, you are not alone. And then on Sunday morning join with others of the Way, the Way of Jesus who calls us out of the tombs that hold us, call us out of old ways that bind and oppress, rise up and Be the Way, the Way of Christ, the Way of being Justice, Compassion, Mercy, Welcome; Be Peace and Be Love in the world around you.
It is one of the many ways we seek to be mindful of the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the community. Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table. Not Your Ordinary Church. Until next week, God bless, and know you are never alone.
Peace and Light on Your Journey,
Pastor Kent

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