You wouldn't think that I have a pharmacology test today as I sit here blogging. But, I somehow just can't resist.
Last night, Maria and James led us in a beautiful Ash Wednesday service where we began to reflect on the season of lent. I really appreciated Maria sharing how in the early church lent was a time to focus on those who had been asked to leave the fellowship so that everyone can be brought in again at Easter, being united with the Resurrection. I found that particularly meaningful, and this morning, as I reflect on tonight's scriptures, my life, our life as a community, and seasons of penitence and celebration, I had some thoughts I would like to share.
Tonight's scriptures include the fall in Genesis and the temptation of Christ: themes of shame, isolation, and temptation. In my life I can see how those themes play out. Sometimes I feel wonderful, vibrant, excited, passionate, and life giving. I can have tons of energy that can be contagious, and at those times I feel secure, included, and I am able to celebrate being part of a community. Other times I don't have so much energy. I begin to think something must be horribly wrong with me, and I can easily fall into an anxious depression. I feel isolated, ignored, unloved and unlovable. It's at those times I feel the least included, and I have the most temptation to be unfaithful.
This morning, reflecting on seasons, I think about these themes in nature. When fall and winter come and the leaves begin to die and fall off the trees, I don't think-- OH NO, something must be wrong. We should do something. Maybe we should uproot the tree and move it to a warmer climate. Maybe then the leaves won't die. Or, maybe the tree is just faulty. It must be a bad tree, we should just get rid of it. No, it's natural for the tree to have seasons of ups and downs.
In my relationships in the community I also see the same seasons. Sometimes I can spend a lot of time with a particular person, and I feel really close and secure in that relationship. Then, often life circumstances become troubled, stressful, or busy, and due to my own insecurity, I feel my relationships suffer. That has been particularly hard the past few months as my schoolwork has gotten really hard. It takes up more of my time than it used to, and I don't have as much time to invest in relationships, with our women's group or with the rest of the fellowship. This morning I am able to look at that and realize that this too is just a season. When the tree is rooted, it will blossom and produce fruit again in the spring. I appreciate the way we put down roots as a community. The thought of committing to and buying houses near one another fills me with a renewed sense of peace. I am able to trust that our roots are deepening, and I believe in the life that is developing even if I don't always see and feel it.
So, this morning I am thankful for the beginning of lent. I am thankful to be able to reflect today on the fall of man in the garden which leads to temptation and our separation from God and each other. I am especially thankful for the confusing, overly-wordy passage in Romans which gives hope that somehow, at the end of difficult seasons, we will all be brought back into the fellowship again through the grace of Christ. I wanted to take this time in a busy season to share that with those who read this blog, because I am also particularly thankful for all of you.
Now, I'm finally off to study.