Rooted in God’s Love

 I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may …grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.  (Ephesians 3:17-18)

Yesterday was a warm, breezy day. The tips of the daffodils could be spotted, bravely pushing their way through the chilly soil, seeking the sunshine.

Today it is snowing. Pine branches droop as they are weighed down by the falling snow.  The daffodils are nowhere in sight.

Tomorrow’s forecast predicts temperatures near 50 degrees.

It is said that the only thing we can count on is that nothing remains the same.

Things change.  Often in an instance. 

I think about the people in Ukraine who were living ordinary lives until suddenly they were living in a country at war.

I think about people who were simply going about their lives – at school or grocery shopping or attending a concert or at a prayer service when shots were fired and their lives changed forever.

I think about the people in Syria and Turkey who went to bed one night only to be convulsed by waves of terror as an earthquake struck.

          Change enters our lives in so many ways. Sometimes it’s a happy occasion like graduation, birth, a new job, or a new friend. Other times it’s a phone call, accident, betrayal, or diagnosis that alters our life forever.

            And then what?  How do we weather the storms?  How do we navigate our new circumstances? 

            Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, says that when we root ourselves in God’s love, we will discover just how trustworthy and constant that love is.  Paul reminds us that even in a world where everything changes, God remains the same.  God is God – yesterday, today, and forever.  God’s love is “steadfast” – unchanging, always there, always available.

 The phrase “rooted in God’s love” makes me think about plants or flowers or long grass that may be tossed about by damaging winds but which remain strong because they have put their roots down into the soil and water below.

So the question for all of us is – how do we root ourselves in the love of God?

When everything is turned upside down, how do we remember to call upon the faithful one?

As we journey through Lent, with our eyes on the Cross and our hope in the promise of resurrection and new life, let’s explore our roots – and how we can tap into the power of God.

Artwork: Roger Solomon

Holy Week: Wednesday

During Holy Week we are invited to consider Jesus’ final days and wonder what those events might say to us today.

Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.  And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.  They were delighted and agreed to give him money.  He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.  (Luke 22: 3-6)

Yesterday’s story was filled with love and devotion and compassion as Mary anointed Jesus. In contrast, today’s reading is defined by betrayal and disappointment and hurt. Tradition calls today “Spy Wednesday,” the day that Judas agreed to betray Jesus.

            Life is filled with painful moments. A friend lets us down or isn’t there when we need them most. A loved one doesn’t seem to be listening or doesn’t appear to care about what is affecting us. We can feel alone, forgotten, pushed aside, even betrayed.

There is no explanation for Judas’ actions. This Holy Week story reminds us of the hard truth that we fallible, flawed human beings hurt one another regularly.

Judas’ story reminds us of times we have failed, of promises we have not kept, of moments when we have been self-absorbed and not available to listen or care or help. There have been times when we have turned our backs and when we have not done enough for someone in need.

There have also been times when we have been hurt by others. We have been on the receiving end of undeserved taunts and meanspirited gossip. Sometimes people don’t have our best interests at heart or may even try to actively do us harm.

Holy Week includes Judas’ story as well as other examples of our human failings. Maybe the story of Judas’ betrayal offers us a greater appreciation of God’s faithfulness. Unlike Judas, God will never leave or forsake us.

What can we learn from these stories? Can we ask for God’s forgiveness where it is needed – for ourselves and for others? Can we be inspired by Jesus who did not call for revenge?  Can we recognize our need for God’s help to face challenging, painful situations like these?