So many mornings I awake grateful for a new day. During this time of my transition I have had to depend on people who I never knew until I came to my new home in the North Carolina’s mountains. I have been blessed with caregivers who are full of energy, fun to be with, and very knowledgeable about the area. I have begun to meet people and forge new friendships. And now I am beginning to connect with a larger community who are involved with faith formation (Christian Education) – it will be good to offer my time and resources when possible. I never thought I would have to retire so early. This has been a journey of ‘trust’.
Below I share a ‘blessing’ with you. May it enrich your moments as it has mine:
Be blessed today, blessed in who you are, in the time you are, in the place you are. Blessed in your moment of rising, when what waits for you still waits, either good or bad, so that you may face it knowing you are not alone. Blessed in your acts of creation, great and small, the things you will do to make a world for yourself, doing all that you can to make that world a better place. Blessed in your hours of resting, when you seek to leave it all behind, embracing the peace of angels who watch over you, keeping you blessed while the quiet stars shine above you. Bishop Steven Charleston
Each year our church calendar offers differing perspectives of our faith story during the Lenten season. Feast days – major or minor – stay in place (their dates are set) as the 40 days of Lent and Easter move along with the spring equinox.
Throughout our Lenten observance we are in preparation for the tense and traumatic days when Jesus, the provider of hope and wholeness, was abused and killed. These days and this part of our story are important but none-the-less horrific. Yet as we round the corner to Holy Week, we hear readings that tell of angels and dreams.
Within this week, one Sunday to the next, we are invited to another time. A time when the news of Jesus’ arrival was only offered to those entrusted to care for him as a baby and nurture him in his growing years. Like bookends – the week begins with Joseph’s feast day and concludes with the celebration of Mary’s hearing of her role in bringing the Good News into our world.
Both were visited by angels. Joseph was awakened in a dream to the importance of his life and commitment to Mary and Jesus. Mary was awakened in the middle of the day, when sleep was not a part of the schedule. Before her stood an angel, an archangel, to proclaim news too remarkable to comprehend. Her eyes were open, yet what greeted her must have felt like a dream.
These “visits” are filled with the mystery of God’s movement among us. There is little logic, for we just like Mary and Joseph, are asked to use our intuition – to step forward in faith. At once we are faced with all the wonder of new life even in the midst of apparent death.
Both of these visitations filled their beholders with brilliant awareness. Joseph was left with a resolve to care for his beloved and be present to his son as mentor and role model. Mary was left knowing that she had accepted an invitation she could only experience with the strength and courage that comes through faith.
Neither knew the story’s end and maybe this is the point. Lest we sit too comfortably in the midst of these next few weeks – may we remember that the story is alive. God continues to move among us and we are best to be prepared – for angels continue to appear, in the most unlikely places.