As I arrived at my office this morning, a palm tree was being brought down. So many palms suffered tremendously from our “Ash Wednesday” freeze, here in San Antonio. I suppose many of the most hardy have survived. I know this tree, surrounded by the asphalt of our office parking lot, must be quite old. Most likely, it was planted when the Motherhouse was built in 1900, or shortly thereafter. I know nothing about palm trees .. their life expectancy in unpredictable climates, what can sabotage them, to what diseases are they susceptible … so my thoughts this morning are really about life and death, and the mystery of both.
Clearly it was successive days of sub-freezing temperatures that felled this tree. But why this time? Certainly over the last 100 years, it has experienced many traumas, any of which could have meant its demise. That’s the mystery; why this time? Why now? Why me? Why a pandemic?
We’re in the beginning of the Easter Season. The readings in the lectionary are accounts of the early days of the church, the movements and actions of the apostles, and the gatherings of the small groups of believers. So much wondering about what life with Jesus and his resurrection meant, and would mean.
If we believe, if we are disciples of Jesus, if we are an Easter people, then we have to simply fall into the mystery. We don’t know why or how. But we believe that death does not win … “O death, where is your sting?” There is nothing easy about death, even to one who welcomes it. There hasn’t been much easy about this past year, but we as Easter people, we who believe in the resurrection, acknowledge that, and somehow fall into the mystery.
We have to believe in the grace of what the collective human community has experienced. It’s so hard; so much death, suffering, violence, hatred. There has also been so much love, compassion, giving, heroism.
What is the grace you’ve experienced? What is hard for you? For who or for what do you grieve? For what do you rejoice, and give thanks?
So much mystery.
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