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I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Eastertide - The Stone

At the end of her really good commentary on Mark, Bonnie Thurston writes in a way that has been speaking to me about the image of the stone that covers the mouth of the tomb. She writes: "In the accounts of the Garden of Resurrection in the gospels there is a great stone over the mouth of Jesus' tomb. Who will move it? The women know that they are unable to remove what separates them from the Lord. This is a great metaphor for the spiritual llife. We cannot, in our own strength, remove what separates us from God and the life God wants us to have in fullness. We cannot bring life from death. But God can and does. The technical word for this is "grace." (The Spiritual Landscape of Mark, p. 78)

And then I turn to the gospel appointed for today, John 20, 11-18 (but I am reading it all the way from 20:1) -- my favorite of the Easter gospel accounts, of Mary Magdalene, meeting, first an angel and then Jesus in the garden and not recognizing where she is or who she is speaking to until the moment when she does. (I've written about this elsewhere on this blog (see other posts tagged "Easter"). But now, in light of what Bonnie Thurston has written, I notice again the first verse of John 20: "

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.

An image of grace I now see: While it is still dark -- the stone is already removed. Before we even know how or what has happened. Something real has changed, by God's power and love. Coming to see what this means for me seems to be an invitation, this Eastertide.

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