What If You Were at the Tomb?

The story of the resurrection of Jesus — the empty tomb; the fear and awe; Mary talking with the gardener without knowing it’s Jesus — is one of the most familiar in Christianity. You might think you know all there is to know about it; maybe you’ve heard the words every year since you were a kid. There’s a wonderful contemplative method of reading scripture from the Ignatian tradition that helps you gain new understanding of familiar passages. You place yourself in the story and use your imagination to awaken the senses. Like lectio divina, of which it is a type, it helps you bypass the rational mind, which thinks it knows the story and what it means. [Read more…]

Easter, waking up and the “Harrowing of Hades”

Each year Easter reminds me that renewal is for all of us all of the time. One of my treasured possessions is an icon given to me by my spiritual director before my own baptism which depicts what is commonly called the “Harrowing of Hades,” where Jesus, between his death and resurrection, visits Hades, wakes Adam and Eve (symbolizing all of us) from their sleep and pulls them away from the control of death. We can wake up, be revived, and reconnect to divine love — at our baptism, with all the Church at Easter, or at any time. Have a blessed Easter. [Read more…]

The not-so-Christian roots of hot cross buns — with a recipe

Food traditions establish sense memories, which are the strongest kind. Marking annual events with specific foods is powerfully grounding. With Holy Week comes one of my favorites: hot cross buns. Read a little about the buns’ pre-Christian roots, and use my recipe to make your own this year! [Read more…]

Starting Anew

The vernal equinox and the Persian/Iranian New Year Nowrooz are today (March 20) and, where I live in the American Northeast, the annual cycle of natural rebirth is starting to Spring into high gear. This is the time of Easter and Passover too. Christianity offers us the opportunity to start anew — demands it of us! Whether it’s a full blown conversion, an annual renewal along with the rest of the church community at Easter, or an individual act of confession and rededication at any time, Christians have many ways to turn around (con-vert) and get back on the path at any time. My own life has been shaped by several conversions… [Read more…]

Just give — my Lenten practice of giving to every beggar

About five years ago, I got the idea to fast from judging whether or not beggars are worthy — instead of deciding if each is truly needy, a slacker or con artist, a good street musician or bad, I just give a dollar to anyone asking. It’s sort of a combination of fasting and almsgiving and it has broken my heart open — changed my attitude permanently towards those who beg. [Read more…]

Mardi Gras, pancakes and a new tradition

I consider turning a one-time thing into a new Mardi Gras tradition… [Read more…]

What Are You Giving Up for Lent?

Here’s my Lenten challenge to you: Make a commitment to abstain from something you may have a compulsive relationship with starting Ash Wednesday and continuing for the duration of Lent until Easter. Not the rest of your life. Just about six weeks. You might discover you like your life better without it. [Read more…]