Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In the Garden of Spirituality – Debbie Blue

“We are not on earth to guard a museum,
but to cultivate a flowering garden of life.”

– Pope John XXIII

The Wild Reed’s series of reflections on religion and spirituality continues with an excerpt from that part of Debbie Blue’s book, Sensual Orthodoxy, in which she reflects upon the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

I dedicate this reflection – on this day of the Autumnal Equinox* – to my friend Joanne Turgeon, CSJ, who died earlier this afternoon.


Jesus wants to show the people, us, everyone, that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Not death. Nothing we do or don’t do, nothing past, nothing present, nothing to come, not powers, not weakness, not anything anywhere at all ever. God doesn’t reject us in our utter brokenness no matter how dead. Rather, God gives life again and again and love again and again. And death is no match for the love of God.

Resurrection. It’s not that easy to believe maybe. It’s a crazy story, but it seems to be the Christian story. God doesn’t reject what we seem to consider to be the shameful secret at the core of our creatureliness: that we will become weak and die. Jesus doesn’t deny death, but looks it full in the face and shows it to be what it is. Not God, not the final horrible, biggest truth, but rather an opportunity for resurrection. From death: life. Out of hopelessness, hope. If we could trust this, put our hope in resurrection, serve resurrection instead of death, if we trusted that God was God not death, maybe we could live more fully as who we are.


* Writes Cliff Séruntine:

September: Time of the darkening equinox, the balance between sun and shadow. Full of the magic of change – not always a comfortable magic. Its twilight empties the heart of its mortal dream. Yet, September is not a bleak month, but a time of transformation. There is no dream as fair as the host rushing “twixt night and day,” a symbol of the continuance of life in the Otherworld. This is the Celtic spiral of life – death and rebirth. This balance . . . it is the mystery of the time of the Autumnal Equinox.

Others highlighted in The Wild Reed’s “In the Garden of Spirituality” series include: Zainab Salbi, Daniel Helminiak, Rod Cameron, Paul Collins, Joan Chittister, Toby Johnson, Joan Timmerman, Uta Ranke-Heinemanm, Caroline Jones, Ron Rolheiser, James C. Howell, Paul Coelho, Doris Lessing, Michael Morwood, Kenneth Stokes, Dody Donnelly, Adrian Smith , Henri Nouwen, Patrick Carroll, Jesse Lava, Geoffrey Robinson, and Joyce Rupp.

Image: Michael J. Bayly.

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