Meditation written by Cathy Tamsberg.
Read by Jim Epps.
This week we call “Holy” is focused on the cross, which is less comfortable for a lot of Pullen people than it is for many Christians. Many of us don’t like the violence of it all and aren’t sure what we believe about the cross anyway. If you’re one of those people, Sister Joan Chittister shares what all of the crosses that adorn her monastery represent for her. She says, “As life goes on and on, it becomes clearer and clearer that the cross is not a dark aspect of religion. It is, on the contrary, the one hope we have that our own lives can move through difficulty to triumph. It’s the one thing that enables us to hang on and not give up when hanging on seems impossible and giving up seems imperative. The cross is our one proof of human possibility…The cross says that we can rise if we can only endure.” It invites us to die to things that keep us from living the fullness of life.
Sister Joan goes on to note that there are some things in life that cannot be avoided, like death, illness, change, and disappointment to name just a few. What each of these experiences does to us depends on how we have learned to deal with lesser things. If we need instant, positive results, life quickly teaches us that this is not possible in many situations. Some things must simply be endured and, if we’re open, we can learn from them. In order to learn, we have to stick with a situation and see it through, whatever that means in a given instance. Says Sister Joan, “Not every question reveals itself at once. Not every effort succeeds at first attempt. Not every good thing that happens, happens without persistent purpose and continual failure.” What we need, therefore, is steady attention. “Life is a package to be opened in its entirety, not a smorgasbord to be sampled as it suits us.”
As you go through your day, consider recommitting yourself to growing where you are—with these people, in this place, at this time. You may discern that change is needed in the future, but for today, invest where you are. Then consider if the cross could be a symbol of the life that is possible if you engage deeply in the challenges life gives you, whether you desire them or not.
This meditation is from “Lent: Sowing Season, Holy Time,” a collection of daily readings by Associate Pastor Cathy Tamsberg. Each day during Lent, from Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013, to Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, a new excerpt read by a member of the Pullen congregation will be made available. To hear each day’s reading as it is published, subscribe to Pullen’s RSS feed, or listen to the podcast in iTunes.