A change of heart can mean many things. I think it is the movement from resentment to gratitude. From “Why is this happening to me?” to “Why not?”
Lent is a practice. It is a practice preparing us for tests. Taking on a practice, giving up a pleasure for the season, fasting periodically, say one or two days a week, sunrise to sunset, engaging in a study or reflection that you may not normally do, exploring some inconvenient truth that needs attention, learning about the suffering of another, practicing compassion.
Then of course, failing at what you set out to do is part of the practice. Maybe you won’t fail. Then the test wasn’t challenging enough.
Matthew Fox said that we are all artists. We can never shirk our responsibility for our own creativity or the joy of that. We are all prophets, too, meaning that we all are called to speak our truth, to say what it is that we feel is true and right and good and to share that. To bear witness is the phrase I love to use. To say, “This is what I see. This is what I hear.” We say it regardless of what it is, because it may be the thing that we need to see or hear or say or hear from another that can actually lead to our salvation and to our healing.
Arbaeen is the symbol of the path toward redemption for our world. What I learned is that I don’t lead it. The West will not lead this. The rich will not lead this. Empires will not lead this. It will be led by those who the so-called powers of this world ignore, suppress and distort.
When seeking the satisfaction of people by throwing Truth and Goodness under the bus, then we get what we seek. We become ruled by the people we seek to satisfy. That is my paraphrase of Husayn.
“Whoever seeks the satisfaction of people through disobedience of God; then God subjects him to people.”
There are signs in this world. Signs of healing. Signs of love. Signs of hope. Signs of wisdom. What is your fringe with an indigo twist? When you feel like a sheep without a shepherd. When life is overwhelming…Is there a sign? For you?
There is no reason be afraid of rising from the dead. There is no reason to fear the death-dealers. Whatever Jesus stood for. Whatever crucified Jesus for what he stood for, what Jesus stood for wins.
So that’s why I like Nicodemus. I am proud of someone who stepped out of the system and said I know everybody is saying this about you. I don’t know. Tell me what you are saying yourself. And I think that is probably one of the best ethical statements one can make.
The unclean spirit may not be best translated as a mental illness, but a societal illness.
The Chinese Bamboo seed when planted will not break ground for four years. You can water it, and you don’t see any result, year after year. Then in the fifth year, the bamboo grows up to 90 feet within a few weeks.
We can learn some things from the Chinese bamboo tree. Things are happening now that we do not know and cannot see. As Jesus said in the Gospel of Thomas: “The kingdom of God is spread over the Earth but people do not see it.” Then, unexpectedly, surprisingly, like the bamboo, we may be fortunate to see what emerges.