Walking from here to there causes me to pause…
and then to consider what else bids me tarry.
prayer & meditation
sunrise & sunset
starry skies & awe
children & wonder
dis-health & disease
caring & loving
table meals & table fellowship
births & deaths
weddings & funerals
These in our holding.
Hold sacred space,
Here and now is.
“Life is not a hobby. It’s a precious gift. And you’re one of the lucky ones who get to experience everything it offers. Live it with a desire to that cannot be contained. Love it. Turn every day into a rewarding experience. Surround yourself with the best life has to offer – from people to places to passions. Rise up and push yourself for more. For your life and those in it. This is your time.” ~ Advertisement for the Lifetime Fitness Center
Yes, one life time. This is our time. You can do it all in your lifetime… start now.
What a great ad pitch for the new year as we consider the times just past and the changes we’d like to adopt. The ‘new’ ushers in another opportunity to get it right. To start fresh, with diligence and dedication for all the right reasons. This time we’re gonna get it right, because we’re worth it.
This is maximum effort time if you’re in the fitness industry. Folks flock to the gym with high hopes and new resolutions. Some stay. Most go. By March, things return pretty much to normal. Traffic dies down and you can get a spot in the exercise class or a seat on your favorite stationary bike.
But a few stick it out. I’m not sure what they find there. Perhaps a personal trainer, exercise companion, class. But these are all means to an end. Facilitators to the feeling that comes when you use your body in ways that are healthy and healing and … can I say holy? It’s different for everyone, but we — the ones who stay — arrive at the same place. We leave feeling different. Stronger. Lighter. Nimbler. Balanced. Better.
Better prepared for life.
Why do I call it a holy workout? Because the one thing I have on earth that I know I won’t have in heaven is my perishable body. It’s meant only for me to use here on this earth in this life. It is perfectly designed so that I can experience whatever my Maker intended for me in this lifetime.
To tune in with my ears. Focus my eyes. Soften my touch. Moisten my lips. Breathe in through my nose. Squeeze my muscles. Stretch my limbs. Activate my heart. All these were given to me to use well. Here and now. In response to the breath of God who spoke the earth into existence and me in it.
“Oh no, I couldn’t,” my neighbor says to my offer of a fruit tart.
“You’re SO disciplined,” my other neighbor comments, as she helps herself.
I have invited them to my house to share the tarts. I have made them especially for the occasion. Prepared them lovingly, presented them carefully and attractively, included only healthy ingredients. And yet, one declines, and it is said of her…you are disciplined.
I come to the communion rail and accept the piece of bread from the hand of the pastor. “Wendy, this is Christ’s body, broken for you.”
I dip it in the cup and hear, “Wendy, this is the blood of Christ, shed for you.”
I say amen. And I eat. Not to be graphic or anything, but some of it sticks to my teeth and the roof of my mouth. And I think, oh, I want to consume every morsel. Wouldn’t want to waste a crumb. And then I remember my kitchen table and think…
What if I came to Christ’s table and said, “Oh no, I couldn’t”?
Ironically, my neighbor declined the tart as an expression of guilt. Speaking but not saying, I can’t eat that tart because I feel guilty about the weight I’ve gained. It’s not discipline she is speaking, it’s shame. I wonder how many don’t approach Christ’s table because they are ashamed. Unaware of the grace offered there. How many decline His offering because others might see them and judge them unworthy.
It is certainly true that I haven’t earned the right to eat that bread and drink that wine. But Christ died so I might change my “Oh, I couldn’t” to His “Yes, you can.” And not only that. He stands beside me as I do and says, “You’re so disciplined.” And He means it.
God is a God of paradox. In His Kingdom, consumption is disciplined. Who turns away the bread of life? Eat up and follow Me.
We do have an odd and often unhealthy relationship with consumption in our country because we know our own willpower to be lacking and our discipline to be weak, especially when no one is watching. Funny how in community, when everyone is watching, we can discover a “renewed discipline.”
As Holy week approaches and Easter morning dawns I pray we can gather as especially large and forgiving communities and resist the urge to look right and left at who might be thinking what about our presence. Let’s be disciplined about looking one way. Upward at the cross. Perhaps we will hear the words again, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
And for a moment we will feast without guilt or shame at a table where we are completely welcome. We’ve been invited. Our host expects us to eat what He has prepared.
***I wish all who read this a most Holy Week and a joyous Easter. The KC will continue in the week that follows. He is risen indeed. Amen.***