As I have been celebrating Lent for the last several years, I have found my experience and appreciation of Resurrection to grow each year.
Easter is no longer just another Sunday. And it is no longer the end of an exhausting fast. It is a time I anticipate and can feel the excitement and energy brimming at the surface. For a few days I live with anticipation and open eyes to the glory of what God is doing in the world.
But most of the time I miss this. Most of the time I get caught up in all the other stresses and responsibilities life throws at me and I forget to remember.
Easter has become a time where I am reminded to wake up. To see things in a new way. To be resurrected.
As I broke my Lenten fast this year, I woke up and went immediately to the coffee beans. I savored the smell as I opened the bag and looked at the detail of the beans as I poured them into the grinder. And I just prayed: “Thank you” as I ground them. Not because I am deep, but because I wanted this cup of coffee to be an act of gratitude. I have gone without for a while and I didn’t want to take it for granted.
We have a brewing system so we have to pour hot water and wait, pour hot water and wait.
Each time I tried to stop and savor and appreciate and notice the coffee.
And then I got to drink it.
I have had coffee since Ash Wednesday. But this one is different. It is not my cheat for the week. I am going back to being a coffee drinker. It is something which is re-taking its place back in my day-to-day existence.
And I don’t want to take it for granted.
Sometimes, taking a break from even the good things in life helps us see thing for what they are.
It is easy for even the most beautiful things to become common place.
We stop seeing the miraculous at work in the ordinary. Or the good things have become so “mundane” that we don’t fully appreciate them and focus more on the difficulties and anxieties and stress that threaten to consume our energies and thoughts.
We stop seeing life as gift. As grace.
When we take a break or deny ourselves something, we open ourselves up to all the things we tend to take for granted. We become more open to the gifts and miracles taking place right in front of us.
Lent is about living in new ways after Easter. It is about life and grace and beauty. It is about resurrecting how we see the world.
This simple practice with the coffee led me to try this idea throughout the rest of the day.
I played with my kids. I noticed their beautiful smiles and eyes. I hugged them and savored their smells and feel. I appreciated how they grow and learn everyday. I tried to drink them in.
Then my beautiful wife came out and I did the same for her. I paid attention to all the things that made me fall in love with her, and all the things that continue to make me fall in love with her – her smile, her way of doing things, her sense of humor, her beauty, the way she cares so deeply.
Later, we planted our garden and I watched how my wife and son interact with each other. I watched the beauty of a mother and son. I watch the humor of a 5-year-old attention span. I heard the wonder in all three of us that these little seeds and leaves will soon turn into something much different that we will be able to eat and enjoy.
I tried to stop and savor and appreciate.
Because that is what Resurrection does.
Resurrection sees life in a whole new way.
Resurrection stops and savors and appreciates because these good things remind us about the ultimate good of the universe.
The good things are not random. They are grace. They are the result of a good God making the world good and when bad things happen, this same good God comes to correct and redeem the bad.
Resurrections allows us to savor the good, reminds us of the inherent goodness of the world, and affirms that this goodness cannot be contained, controlled, or crushed.
Unless we learn to stop and savor, it is easy to think the bad things in the world are the ultimate reality and have the real power and strength. It is easy to be consumed with the trivial and miss the miraculous.
When we deny ourselves of something good, we are then freed to no longer take Resurrection for granted.
This is the first step to living into Resurrection.
As we stop and savor the blessing God pours out on us each moment, we are then thrown into this beautiful story.
This Story says that the same Spirit which resurrects Jesus from the dead…
Lives. In. You.
That is a statement that we might need to stop, savor, and drink in.
You have the ability to bring new things into the world. You have the ability to help the world be more loving, hopeful, and beautiful.
You are a means of grace.
This week, as we step into Resurrection, may we learn to see life as a gift. May we see the miraculous in the ordinary. May we see the beautiful resurrection bursting forth right here and right now.
May we join the Story.