The story of the two disciples on their way to Emmaus who meet the resurrected Jesus is a familiar story to us all, maybe to familiar. I found this drawing of Rembrandts and it touched me in a way some finished painting cannot. If you look closely you will see it is not a complete drawing, you have the basic outlines some detail is included but most of the fine detail is missing. In a way that is what the scriptural story is for me, the fine details are left out. For instance Rembrandt portrays a young and an older disciple with Jesus but I don’t remember ages being given. For some reason I always pictured the road they were walking on as being isolated but in the background here you see other travelers, is that possible. Jesus is in deep conversation with the two and I often wondered why these two were they the only ones of his disciples not afraid to go out? I could go on forever but then you wouldn’t have a chance to meditate on this drawing.
So today, I offer this drawing for Visio Divina practice. Gaze at the picture and as you focus on the images place yourself in the role of one of the disciples. Ask yourself the following questions:
The other disciples are afraid of leaving the upper room but you have chosen to travel. If you had been one of these disciples what would you have thought of this stranger interposing himself on you and your companion? Would you have been afraid?
In what ways does this the teaching of the stranger peak your curiosity.
What is it about the stranger that draws you to him? Does he somehow feel familiar?
Given that some of the women in your group have come back from the tomb telling everyone that Jesus was alive, can you entertain the possibility that you are talking to your risen Lord even if you are afraid to say so out loud.
May Christ meet you on the road and offer you comfort.
all will be well
and all will be well
and every manner of thing
will be well
Julian of Norwich, late 14th century mystic
The last couple of weeks have been a bit troubling for me. In one week I heard of the death of three of my friends and then there was a three day trip to Houston to visit my best friends and of course there has been loss of planes, and ferries, and the overwhelming loss in the Oso WA Mudslide. In the midst of this chaos I am writing the first draft of my ordination paper. Needless to say I haven’t bored, although some days I would have liked to be. What I do have is a deep sorrow and fatigue, which are following me around like two sad little puppy dogs.
This morning as I sat down to meditate and flipped open a small book with the writings of a number of medieval mystics I landed on Julian of Norwich’s “all will be well.” I so needed to read those words, because right now nothing feels very well. I grieve the loss of my friends, which interferes with my thought processes for my paper. I want to ask God “what happened? Everything was going along smoothly now it’s all upside down, can’t we please go back to the beginning and start over?” Well God’s answer was “all will be well.”
Yes what seems dark today is only the time before the dawn and new light and new hope. My friends still live in memory, I will finish my paper and God is still there sitting next to me saying “all will be well.”
The following music video of Julian of Norwich’s All Will Be Well by pastor Meg Barnhouse touched me deeply today and says so much of what I am feeling and asks the same questions I have been asking. But Julian of Norwich trusted that God knows the answers and if God said, “all will be well,” then I too will take heart and trust that “all will be well.”
I’m so sorry this post is late but life just seems to interfere at times, especially during Holy Week. But I did want to talk about “life.” No, not the meaning of life but rather how fragile life is. In the last two weeks two friends have passed on to next life. One was in his late 80’s and had lived a long, happy, and productive life. The second was in his early 50’s and had so much more life to live. I was unable to say good bye to these friends before died and a part of me is sad because I never had the chance to tell them face to face how much they meant to me.
I am blessed that I was able to visit a friend who has been ill for a long time and while he is doing quite well considering health concerns there is a fear I might not see him again. The chance to tell him how much he means to me and how much he has touched and influenced my life was very important to me. So often we don’t get that chance. One day someone we love is sitting next to and the next they are in the arms of God.
Love transcends death and my friends are still with me in my memories but they have moved on to a new life, one I will not know until I too pass those doors. I no longer can call upon them for advice, or companionship. They are beyond helping me problem solve or sitting with me when I am confused and lonely. What I feel is grief, a grief at the loss of the physical person and grief at my own inability to tell them how much I loved them when they were here beside me.
This week, this Holy Week, I would encourage you to reach out to those you love and draw them into your arms, hug them and tell them you love them. Tell them how much they mean to you. Let them know they have made a difference in your life. That too is a spiritual practice, letting others know the love for them and how much they mean to you. Don’t let a moment go by without saying “thank you” to those who touch your life. It is never too early in life to recognize our mentors, our role models, and those who care for us, who love us; however, it can be too late.
In the last week I have watched the reports from the mudslide in Oso Washington and my heart is filled with sorrow for all the victims lost and recovered alive. Last night I used this picture as my prayer focus and found it rich in prayers for all the victims and the responders of this terrible disaster.
1. As you gaze at the picture what feelings come up for you?
2. Do you have something you want to tell God?
3. What words of comfort would you offer to the victims and the responders in Oso?
Other areas have also experienced natural disaster. Los Angeles has been experiencing earthquakes this week and adverse weather due to climate change has plagued the areas east of the Rockies all winter.
4. End you time of meditation with a prayer for all who have been affected by disasters and extreme adverse weather conditions around the world?