I haven't seen any deer the last few mornings, but I did get to see a beautiful moon a bit ago. It was so full and bright when I first looked out, and a little later, when it was lower on the horizon and the sun was about to come up, it was a beautiful shade of orange-yellow. Breathtaking.
This is Holy Week for those of us who celebrate the Resurrection and Good Friday is always followed by Easter. This time of deep reflection on our personal relationship with Christ spotlights the fact that He gave all of himself to us and willingly suffered the consequences of that loving act. Holy Week is the last week of Lent and specially focuses on the last week of our LORD's life and the events leading up to his death and resurrection. I am not sure why, but this has always been my favorite week of the church year. The somberness of Maundy Thursday's stripping of the altar for Good Friday, and Good Friday's grief, followed by the joyous celebration on Sunday morning creates a beautiful contrast. In all the Episcopal churches I have attended, the congregation participates in the gospel reading of the Passion narrative on Palm Sunday (which is the Sunday before Easter). There are individuals who read the parts for Jesus, Pilate, and others, but the congregation as a whole participates as the crowd who demands "crucify him, crucify him." When I read my part of the Passion narrative each year --"Crucify him, Crucify him!" --I am reminded that often my thoughts and actions reflect a heart that is indeed crying "crucify him!" Paradoxically, I do not feel condemned by this fact, but instead I am strangely encouraged that even though God knew that I would fail regularly, He created me anyway, and He loves me more than I can imagine...and His love for me is not dependent on my response to him. He loves me enough to give me the gift of free will/choice--a very dangerous gift to give someone you love--and still call to me of His great love for me in the moments of my worst choices. He has given us eyes to SEE and ears to HEAR. I want to use mine to draw closer to Him in good times and in bad. I have had some practice with the bad times these past months, and I have noticed that when I put my hands over my eyes and ears to shut Him out, I am even more miserable. He is Light, and the Light is real and shines even in my deepest darkness.