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by davesandel on March 5th, 2019


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Peter began to say to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.”

– From Mark 10

In New Orleans the temperature crashed from 80 on Sunday to 54 today. In fact, the temperature today on Mardi Gras is expected to be the lowest in the next ten days. And then on Wednesday? On Ash Wednesday? On the day we begin our various fasts to prepare for the resurrection of Jesus? Mostly sunny. In Urbana, too: mostly sunny. Yes!

This past weekend some of our world tumbled down around us. On Saturday our shiny, smooth, jet black ceramic glass stovetop broke into pieces when a bottle of olive oil fell. On Sunday morning our car battery was dead and we couldn’t get to church. On Sunday afternoon some of the important files we use to track income and expenses for our tax forms failed to open. Surprise, surprise. Oh, and then we lost the TV remote!

But, on the other hand, we watched a squirrel eat a nearly full apple core for several minutes, sitting on the roof of our backyard gazebo. Snow fell and blanketed the ground, and when I brushed some of it aside, it felt like the ground was wearing a white velour sweater. Our backyard garden needs the protection of the snow, and the already sprouted front yard flower bulbs need it too.

This year in July we will have lived here thirty years. This year Margaret and I will celebrate our fortieth wedding anniversary. Today in our back yard there are cardinals on our bird feeder, squirrels eating our apples, and chickens graciously giving us their eggs. We will have to replace the stovetop. We’ll have to recharge our battery. Sunday leaks into Monday, which gently curves into Tuesday. Do not worry about tomorrow. The seasons come and the seasons go. This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad.

We have spent time and money maintaining our house, which was moved to Lincoln Avenue in Urbana in 1945. It the oldest house on our block. And it is the most unique. (You can see it if you google “yelp Christian counseling service urbana”) We have stayed here and set our roots.

We have not set off for foreign shores as missionaries. We have not given all we have to the poor. We have not become professional religious workers. But still, reading the text today, I wonder if we, like Peter, really have given up everything and followed Jesus.

Among theologians, Karl Rahner has spoken clearly about the spirituality of the ordinary. Thomas Ryan credits him with helping “many ordinary Christians reject a sharp dichotomy between sacred and secular in favor of a more integrated, incarnational spirituality which helps them find and serve God in all aspects of human existence, even the most routine.”

Today we shovel snow again along the ground of “this blessed plot, this earth, this realm …” The sun comes up, and the sun comes down. And Paul’s words ring in each of us: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

How remarkable, Lord: this humility so sweetly replacing shame and guilt. Of all I have not done, you fling as far as east from west. Of all that you have done, I cherish and ask increase. You hold me, and every day make me new like you.

Thomas Ryan, SJ, Praying with Heart and Body: Meditation and Yoga as Christian Spiritual Practice, Chapter 3, “Historical Highlights in the Practice of Christian Meditation,” p. 47, 1995

William Shakespeare, Richard II, Act 2, Scene 1, 1597

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