I’ve been wrestling with this for the last several days. I went for a hike early on Saturday morning while we were away and found a beautiful little spot to watch the sunrise. I know that I was technically on someone else’s property, but they had built a viewing stand to see the sunrise and I just couldn’t resist. So, I sat up there for about 45 minutes as I watched a beautiful sunrise. Who knows exactly how many sunrises I have watched like this but for some reason what came to mind for me with this one was that there is always something new in a sunrise. The clouds and colors could be similar but they are never exactly the same. In this sunrise, there were strips of clouds that created lines of colors in between them. It was wonderful. Always something new.
I was planning on writing about this that evening, but plans that day (paintball, Thanksgiving dinner #2, and then the Colorado game that evening) didn’t give me the time to do it. But I think it was because it wasn’t until this morning that a few more pieces fell into place. I love God’s timing.
This morning, I was reading in Ezekiel 36 and there were at least 8 times in that passage where it reads, “This is what the sovereign Lord says” as part of the prophecies of Ezekiel. I’ve read this book many times before but for some reason, that stood out this morning – the repetition and simply the meaning behind the words. These aren’t just Ezekiel’s words that he’s spouting off, but instead they are God’s words through him to the people. Much of the chapter were words of promise and not just of judgment like what much has been before this chapter.
Then I moved to the sections in Rohr’s book, The Divine Dance, for this morning. He was talking about how we can even come to know and experience the Trinity in our bodies. He began with this quote from a quote from Carl McColman (from a book about Cistercian Spirituality)
We are called to embody the love of God in our lives. Not just talk about it or think about it or pray about it. We must live it in our guts, our muscles, our hearts, our eyes, our ears, and our tongues. We manifest that love when we share the ordinary rhythm of life with others who are likewise seeking to grow in love and compassion. Such love naturally expresses itself communally, even within God: Christians recognize in God a trinity of persons, traditionally called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; it is their self-giving love for one another that, in Dante’s words, “moves the sun and other stars.”
I re-read those words many times over – it just connected so much to me and what I feel we are called to be as followers of Christ – where Christ enters into EVERY part of our lives – not just a few small parts. But Rohr wasn’t done yet…Coming to the end of the section, he quoted a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins that Rohr used in one of his extended times away during Lent.
Deliver it, early now, long before death,
Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty’s self and beauty’s giver.
And in another place:
This, all this beauty blooming,
This, all this freshness fuming,
Give God while worth consuming.
Rohr described how he used the words “back” and “beauty” in his morning and evening walks and how he would “set his breath” to “beauty” as he exhaled and “back” as he inhaled. So, as I was reading this (and maybe it was more difficult because I was reading while on the elliptical machine), I tried to do that and I couldn’t. I just couldn’t get past the fact that my breathing pattern feels like inhaling comes first and so “beauty” had to be on the inhale and “back” on the exhale. It took a while throughout the day trying it until I finally came to a place where I was able to do it without going back to the old patterns.
Isn’t that how this faith thing is…there is always something new in God, but we so often want to just go back to the old ways, the ways that are comfortable, safe, predictable. Yet, the Sovereign Lord of Ezekiel (and the rest of Scripture) calls us to something beyond that – something new, something that might be difficult, something that can transform us permanently.