Living life in an Easter Key

A picture of a spring flower I took this week
A picture of a spring flower I took this week

The Christian life can be summarized as the living out of the pascal mystery in every part of our lives. It is making the celebration of Easter a lived reality in each day we are given. What this means is that by the Grace of the Father, in Christ and through the Holy Spirit, we commend each element of our existence  into God’s hands. It is the setting right of an appetite that has ceased to hunger for God alone. It is a process of living out in action that which was sacramentally given to us in our baptism. We offer God our life in all of its brokenness and God offers us his life in all of its fullness. This progression toward life in an Easter key is what we talk about when we discuss “spirituality.”

The greatest expression of this dynamic life each year is the celebration of Easter itself. At Easter the people of God join in sacramental participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus. On Holy Thursday we go with Jesus to the garden, on Good Friday we meet him at the Cross, and at the vigil we join in exclamation of Joy as we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, trampling death by death. We also experience this every Sunday at mass. These times are sometimes referred to as “little Easters.” However most of our lives we have to live out the Easter reality of the Christian life in the messy particularities of our own lives.

This can be very difficult. I know this is true. I am a father, I run a business, I am a student and on top of that I am called to live life as a mission in deep relationship with God and others. I often feel like I am just too busy for spirituality. I know I am not alone. As I talk to people about their faith I often here people confess that they simply can’t find time to pray. The business of life, work, family, and even ministry can feel like it chokes out any space for God. If this is where you find yourself, I have some good news.

In all of these areas God calls us to offer ourselves to Him and in all of these areas God offers himself to us. Developing a life in an Easter Key does not require you to leave your life but simply to invite God into the living out of your life. God is working to turn you into the person Jesus would be if Jesus were you.

I recently read a great little book that offers some ways on how to do this. It’s called Busy Lives & Restless Souls. It offers The Ignation spirituality in a quick and easy format. In it there is a treasure trove of wisdom. It gleans the very best from the Jesuit reserves and offers it in a way that is easy for busy folks to not only read but to live.

Written by a spiritual director who is also a mother, wife and all around busy person herself the book seeks to help readers understand and explore opportunities for prayer in their lives they may never have experienced before. She rightly sees Jesus himself as a busy person, and points to ways that we can follow him in our own contexts. Here is a great excerpt.

Jesus teaches us many things about God. Jesus also models the way for us to live: rooted in God and living in the reality of this divine-and-human life. To illustrate this, let me use an example I came across years ago in Margaret Silf’s book Companions of Christ. It’s the image of the oil lamp…

…The oil lamp represents us. In each of us, there is a “wick” that runs through us. One end of this wick is immersed in the oil, and the other end of the wick is extended outward, hoping to bring light. We are like this oil lamp in that we can choose to root our lives somewhere—be it God or anyone or anything else. Where we immerse the wick affects what we bring out into the world. This is how most of us live; we attempt to ground our lives somewhere or in someone, and we live in the world, just as Jesus did.

Jesus demonstrates that if we root our lives in God, we can live in the world, bringing light and hope to all we encounter, and we can walk through anything that comes our way. If our oil is God, we never run out of it. Our wick is always fed and fueled and is capable of lighting

But let’s be honest. Sometimes, we pull our wick out of the “oil of God,” and we place it instead in the oil of our work or of our pursuit of money or ambition. Perhaps we center our lives and ground our lives in family or in another person, hoping that that person can continually refuel and provide the oil we need to live in the world. Maybe our other end of the wick can give light for a while, but eventually we realize that our light is flickering and fading and not giving much help to anyone.

And then there are times when were not grounded in anything. Our wick is not immersed in any kind of oil. We feel empty, restless, longing for meaning. Imagine trying to light an oil lamp without any oil. We can try multiple times to light it, but without oil, nothing happens.

Jesus shows us how to keep our oil lamp fueled and lit. Jesus shows us how to live in the world and how to live a life of prayer while tending to our roles and responsibilities. Jesus was not a hermit, focusing his entire day on prayer with God. He was out there in the world, as each of us is. He was in relationships. He was doing his work. He encountered people of all kinds, just as we do each day

If you feel like you need a jumpstart on your own life with God. This book is a great resource to begin the journey with God again. It even has discussion questions at the end of each chapter, making it a great resource for a small group.

What resources have you recently encountered that have helped you live life in an Easter Key. Let me know in the comments below.

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