Monday, April 15, 2019

In This In-Between Time . . .

. . . of both loss and promise

Last week's spring snow storm notwithstanding, we're currently in that strange, in-between time here in Minnesota when the snow and ice of winter have mostly gone but the greening of spring is yet to emerge.

As I've noted previously at The Wild Reed, I'm drawn to in-between places, be they coastal rock platforms or interim times between the earth's seasons. I'm drawn to them because, for me, they serve as beautiful and powerful symbols of the liminal spaces of life and love, of those times and experiences of both loss and promise; times and experiences wherein we're often called to embody "active waiting," a paradoxical way of being which, as Henri Nouwen reminds us, is a "radical attitude toward life."

It's no wonder that the Christian church chose to remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus at such an in-between time of the year, a time when (in the northern hemisphere, at least) the natural world is experiencing both loss and promise. The stark beauty of the earth at this time reminds me of the deep and profound spiritual truths within which we all have our being; truths that continually invite us to embark on journeys of transformation towards wholeness. Indeed, I feel so strongly about this that it will be this single post that will serve as my Holy Week offering this year. In previous years, as you'll see at the end of this post, I've shared whole series of posts to mark Holy Week. I want to keep things simpler this year; more grounded in the beauty and wisdom of the earth.

Indeed, I feel that what I'm trying to say here is captured most truthfully in the images of nature that I share rather than in any words that I could pull together. Some of these images were taken April 2 at the Christos Center in Lino Lakes, MN. Others were taken the next day at one of my favorite spots on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Still others were taken earlier, on March 31, at Diamond Lake with my saaxiib qurux badan (Somali for "beautiful friend") Adnan. You might also recognize the Prayer Tree in one of these photographs!

Accompanying my photos is a "Blessing for the Interim Time" by John O'Donohue, another artistic expression, in this case a poem, which conveys truth more profoundly than the wordy expressions of, say, orthodoxy or academia.

For the Interim Time

When near the end of day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,

No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been, or what might come.

In this wan light, even trees seem groundless.
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems to believe the relief of dark.

You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.

The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.

“The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.”

You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk,
Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.

Everything else has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.

As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow your confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.

What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.

John O’Donohue
(From To Bless the Space Between Us:
A Book of Blessings
, pp. 119-120)

NEXT: Photo of the Day – April 21, 2019

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
A Prayer for the Moment Between
Waiting in Repose for Spring's Awakening Kiss
Somewhere In Between
O Dancer of Creation
Spring: Truly the Season for Joy and Hope
Welcoming the Return of Spring (2018)
Celebrating the Return of Spring (2017)
Time and the River
Somewhere In Between

For The Wild Reed's 2018 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Druid author and speaker John Michael Greer's essay "The God from the House of Bread" in the 2012 anthology, Jesus Through Pagan Eyes: Bridging Neopagan Perspectives with a Progressive Vision of Christ), see:
The God from the House of Bread: A Bridge Between Christianity and Paganism (Part 1)
The God from the House of Bread (Part 2)
The God from the House of Bread (Part 3)
The God from the House of Bread (Part 4)

For The Wild Reed's 2017 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from a 1999 interview with scholar and teacher Andrew Harvey, accompanied by images that depict Jesus as the embodiment of the Cosmic Christ), see:
Jesus Our Guide to Mystical Love (Part 1)
Jesus Our Guide to Mystical Love (Part 2)
Jesus Our Guide to Mystical Love (Part 3)

For The Wild Reed's 2016 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Richard Horsley's 1993 book Jesus and the Spiral of Violence, accompanied by images of Juan Pablo Di Pace as Jesus in the 2015 NBC mini-series A.D.: The Bible Continues), see:
Jesus and Social Revolution (Part 1)
Jesus and Social Revolution (Part 2)
Jesus and Social Revolution (Part 3)

For The Wild Reed's 2015 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Cletus Wessels' book Jesus in the New Universe Story), see:
The Two Entwined Events of the Easter Experience
Resurrection in an Emerging Universe
Resurrection: A New Depth of Consciousness

For The Wild Reed's 2014 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from John Neafsey's book A Sacred Voice is Calling: Personal Vocation and Social Conscience), see:
"To Die and So to Grow"
The Way of the Wounded Warrior
Suffering and Redemption
A God With Whom It is Possible to Connect
A Discerning Balance Between Holiness and Wholeness: A Hallmark of the Resurrected Life

For The Wild Reed's 2013 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Albert Nolan’s book Jesus Before Christianity, accompanied by images of Jesus that some might call "unconventional"), see:
Jesus: The Upside-down Messiah
Jesus: Mystic and Prophet
Jesus and the Art of Letting Go
Within the Mystery, a Strange and Empty State of Suspension
Jesus: The Revelation of Oneness

For The Wild Reed's 2012 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Cynthia Bourgeault's book The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – A New Perspective on Christ and His Message), see:
The Passion: "A Sacred Path of Liberation"
Beyond Anger and Guilt
Judas and Peter
No Deeper Darkness
When Love Entered Hell
The Resurrected Jesus . . .

For The Wild Reed's 2011 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Albert Nolan’s book Jesus Before Christianity, accompanied by images of various cinematic depictions of Jesus), see:
"Who Is This Man?"
A Uniquely Liberated Man
An Expression of Human Solidarity
No Other Way
Two Betrayals
And What of Resurrection?
Jesus: The Breakthrough in the History of Humanity
To Believe in Jesus

For The Wild Reed’s 2010 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Andrew Harvey’s book Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ), see:
Jesus: Path-Blazer of Radical Transformation
The Essential Christ
One Symbolic Iconoclastic Act
One Overwhelming Fire of Love
The Most Dangerous Kind of Rebel
Resurrection: Beyond Words, Dogmas and All Possible Theological Formulations
The Cosmic Christ: Brother, Lover, Friend, Divine and Tender Guide

For The Wild Reed’s 2009 Holy Week series (featuring the artwork of Doug Blanchard and the writings of Marcus Borg, James and Evelyn Whitehead, John Dominic Crossan, Andrew Harvey, Francis Webb, Dianna Ortiz, Uta Ranke-Heinemann and Paula Fredriksen), see:
The Passion of Christ (Part 1) – Jesus Enters the City
The Passion of Christ (Part 2) – Jesus Drives Out the Money Changers
The Passion of Christ (Part 3) – Last Supper
The Passion of Christ (Part 4) – Jesus Prays Alone
The Passion of Christ (Part 5) – Jesus Before the People
The Passion of Christ (Part 6) – Jesus Before the Soldiers
The Passion of Christ (Part 7) – Jesus Goes to His Execution
The Passion of Christ (Part 8) – Jesus is Nailed the Cross
The Passion of Christ (Part 9) – Jesus Dies
The Passion of Christ (Part 10) – Jesus Among the Dead
The Passion of Christ (Part 11) – Jesus Appears to Mary
The Passion of Christ (Part 12) – Jesus Appears to His Friends

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