The SPIRE – April 2019

Dear Edwards Church Community,

     What might a resurrection look like? Not THE Resurrection, the one in which Jesus rose from the grave, but any old resurrection, like yours or mine.

     I often look to nature for a lesson and at this time of year (late March) I can practically feel the sap rising. The temperature swings across a widening spectrum, cycling between freezing overnight and warming to a reassuring comfort by afternoon. We harness this movement in nature to make maple syrup, but the rising sap remains a force of nature, a gift from God, the source of all our lives.

     In the article attached to the drawing of the sugar maple (to the right), the author wonders “Can You Take Too Much Sap from a Tree?” Can we exhaust the gifts of God? In my short life to date, the growing, and now overwhelming, body of evidence leads to a confrontation with nature’s limits. Stewards of maple trees developed guidance over generations. Now modern measurement and vacuum assisted pumps have pushed their homespun limits well past the old guidelines. But how will it affect trees in the long run or the flavor of syrup today?

     In his short, classic book The Sabbath, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel beautifully evokes what is lost when we over-focus on gaining more in our material lives, at the expense of consecrating time by stopping production long enough to recall the value of life itself. Sabbath is an oasis in time, when we fast from the urge to produce.

“[One] who wants to enter the holiness of the day … must say farewell to manual work and learn to understand that the world has already been created and will survive without the help of [humans]. Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul.”

     This “seed of eternity” can be starved by over-active living, depleted of the nutrients of rest and reflection. Lent is an especially good time to tend this seed of eternity. The approaching end of Lent, when we pass from Palm Sunday through Holy Week to Easter, is an opportune time to turn aside even more than usual from our daily concerns and nurture that seed. You never know what new life might emerge, or what dream deferred might experience a resurrection.




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