Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Opening

It is still Easter. It is Easter every day. (If it is not, then it never was...)

For many, Easter is just another yearly holiday, come and gone like all the rest. For we who believe, Easter (or "Pascha", as it is more properly called by Orthodox Christians) is a transforming truth, not a day on the calendar or a mere historical event. For it to be anything less than this renders it meaningless. 

What does it mean to be transformed by this "truth"? How can this be? Certainly it is not anything I know how to do.

While there is much good (and bad) theology written and preached on this topic, I am not a theologian. My mind accepts the Resurrection of the Christ - but my mind goes no further. At least not today. Instead, today, I listen and watch with my heart. 

Nature is, for many of us, a great teacher - and that is no accident. God reveals Himself in the truth of His creation. He reveals Himself in many other ways too, of course, and nature represents only a hint of the fullness of His truth. 

Nature is but a hint because it is "created" and therefore not Eternal - as is the New Life of Pascha. However, nature can help us conceive, in a tangible way, of the possibility of new life emerging from death. Without it, our imaginations could not possibly challenge our perception of death's finality.

Please allow me to share with you a short video, made from a poem and some images that were gift to me. They are, of course, only a most imperfect hint of Pascha truth but I believe they were given to me to share...

(text of the poem)

my heart is like a tiny tree bud
in early spring
wrapped so tightly in itself
that it knows not
whether it is living or dead.
deep within its core
it holds a truth it cannot name.
but the little bud knows that
not all truths are welcome
in this dark world
and it is afraid.

violent storms rage and rage
around the tiny bud
as it clings to the only branch it knows.
i watch and i wait.
what else can i do?
i look to heaven, pleading for a sign –
will the bud survive?
the sun smiles down
and the breezes warm
but they give no answer.

and then it begins:
the opening.
shyly...just a little at first,
fearful of what is coming.
i pray again, my heart quivering
as transformation unfolds.
“be open!” the sun beckons.
“stay rooted in me,” the earth invites.
“reach for the sky!” cries the wind.

my heart can wait no longer.
it cannot remain but a bud.
a living Truth bursts forth
and shatters the walls
that held it tight within itself.
it is not the old life anymore –
it cannot be.
my heart can be my heart no more.

it is Beauty,
only Beauty…

(Blessings to all, especially my Orthodox brothers and sisters in Christ who celebrate Pascha today. Special thanks to Orthodox priests, Fr. Stephen Freeman and Fr. Aidan Kimel, who through their blogs share their deep spiritual understanding with this poor Catholic. Thanks also, to Christine Valters Paintner who is helping me learn to see from my heart when I walk with my camera. In a few weeks, I will be posting here a review of her new book, Eyes of the Heart. More spring photos to come as well.)