Tag Archives: rebirth

rainy day prayer

I write my prayers; I have trouble articulating them otherwise. I don’t share them. This one, though, I wanted to share. It summarizes what I’ve been feeling spiritually for quite a few years now.

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I’m at the point where I don’t know if I would recognize Your voice if I heard it. No, that’s not true. Your voice is this quiet, in this room, as cars go by in the rain like steady white noise, like waves. What does the voice say?

Peace, peace.

I can feel myself become calm. My heartbeat slows.

I guess I’m just not sure if that’s “good enough.” Most of my conversations about You now are like seeping wounds, barely just scabbing over. I feel like all I have to tell people is how the church let me down, how Christians let me down, how the different denominations (Lutheran, Episcopal, Evangelical, charismatic) let me down. I don’t really have a silver lining. Is that because something is wrong with me?

I guess the one good thing from all that I can tell someone everything You are not. You’re not loneliness in a crowd of girls at a Christian retreat, or an angry argument over Facebook, or the agonizing fear of demons in every corner. You’re not silence from friends after a church collapsed. You’re not shame. Rage. Hate.

But…what are You, then? Am I starting from scratch? I feel like my insides are scraped clean, ready to be filled with…what?

Easter season is about rebirth, right? I guess that’s what I ready for.

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Macalester Easter

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Easter was very different for me this year. My parents were in Illinois getting their new place ready, brother was in Boston, and it was the first Easter for Chris and I as married people. I’ve also been feeling spiritually adrift, so it was hard to feel any real joy when reading the dozens of Easter posts on Facebook. I was conflicted about my lack of feeling all day as we waited to go to Macalester to have an Easter service and dinner with Macalester people.

Mac Christian Fellowship is run by a lot of my closest Macalester friends, who are some of the best people I know. They are passionate, independent, ambitious, and compassionate. The service was designed and carried out entirely by students. Wholly of their own accord, students came to reflect on the death and resurrection of Christ, and share a meal that was open to anyone in the Mac community, Christian or not.

Macalester has been labeled as one of the most liberal and aggressively “unreligious” campuses in the country for decades. It was described as “godless” in an article about the school. When I transferred from a conservative evangelical school to Mac, I had people chuckle about the great difference between the schools as well as express an admiration for my bravery to stand right in the middle of the battlefield. The funny thing is none of the Christians I know at Mac consider the college the enemy. Instead of pushing back against the school’s values, Christian students are constantly finding ways to work with the community and use the tools the school provides to fulfill the Christian mission. Because they often feel like the minority, Christian students never engage in the kind of aggressive ideological or theological division that is so common in churches, and it’s not like every Macalester student is politically liberal either. There are differences within the community, but fighting one another about it simply isn’t important when the world at large so desperately needs love. God has a way of making His presence most obvious in a place that is “godless.” 

There were Scripture readings, singing, and testimonials at the service. People shared about how difficult it can be to transition from Good Friday – the darkest day in Christian history – to an Easter mindset – the most joyous day. Life weighs us down and injustice wrecks havoc seemingly unchecked, a thing Mac students are so painfully and keenly aware of. The theme I took away from the service was hope. The death of Christ represented, as my best friend Erin put it, “not only the lack of hope, but the betrayal of hope,” and Easter represents the rebirth and fulfillment of a new hope, a hope no one saw coming, through the resurrection of Jesus. Towards the end of the service, we were invited to call out something that we saw as hopeless, and to all respond to it by saying, “There is hope indeed.”

Disease.

There is hope indeed.

Depression.

There is hope indeed.

Pollution.

There is hope indeed.

Violence.

There is hope indeed.

Ukraine.

There is hope indeed.

 

 

Autumn Rebirth

ImageAutumn represents a time of death for a lot of people. Nature is getting ready to hibernate during winter. Water slowly freezes over, trees shed their leaves, the air gets a chill. For me, autumn has always been when I am at my best. When I went to school, I was fresh during the autumn. I was still optimistic about the year. Summer was still in my bones and I carried that light through the darker evenings. The changing leaves didn’t represent dying; their colors were as if the world had caught fire and burned brightly down the streets and through forests. The fragrance of cinnamon and apple seemed to be infused into everything, even people’s clothes and on their skin, and it woke my senses in a way that the sleepy, muggy smell of summer grass never could.

Autumn represents rebirth to me. Because school was always so important, summer was nothing more than a time to recharge, a ramp leading up toward fall where “real life” began. Even without school, autumn promises change. My counseling is getting more intensive, I have dreams about cleaning, baking, and reading. I’m hopeful that the fires of autumn continue to ignite and spread flame into every area of my life and my environment. I want to live. I want to live on fire.