I wasn’t originally going to post anything on this reading – not because I didn’t think it worthy of a post, but more because I just didn’t get around to doing it yesterday. Then I was walking to worship this morning and saw this interesting intersection of lines, colors, and surfaces. Got me thinking as I was walking about how our passages in life tend to sometimes intersect and not always flow smoothly one to another. Nouwen is talking about death in these current readings, but he also raises the other transitions (or passages) in life – going to college, getting married, having children, retiring, etc. One of the things that I love about being part of a church is that we are a part of many of those key transitions in life – baptism of a child, confirmation, communion, marriage, and yes death as well.
I recently read a book by Bill Plotkin that spoke to the transitions and passages in life and he correctly notes that Western society has not done these all that well as we have grown more and more fragmented. Even the passages noted above within the church aren’t universal as some churches don’t baptize infants, some don’t do confirmation, and so forth. Plotkin notes many times over the difference that it can make to help smooth those transitions and help them flow naturally one into the other rather than such a fragmented way that they often take place.
I am currently in the transition from a sabbatical period back into the everyday normal life of ministry. Our children are in the transition from summer break time back into school. Nature around is starting to show the beginnings of transitioning from the hot summer to the cool of Autumn. Nouwen closes his reflection with this – “Each of these passages is a death leading to new life. When we live these passages well, we are becoming more prepared for our final passage.”