Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happiness of Happenstance, Upon a Day of Joyous Birth

Oh, happiest of days

This is not

Joyous, yes

Happy of happenstance, no

 
 

For one whose birth

this day holds

Half day across

inter-national dateline

World still

turning round and round

Nearly half century

of beloved, now gone

Joyful gratefulness presses on

Fleeting happiness ever eludes

 
 

Oh, but what flowers could so bloom

For now in the winter of such a one's discontent

To behold the fruit bearing forth of union's progeny

To gaze upon blazing, beauteous glory

Of being blessed with raising blessings

To be held, captivated by such beautiful ones nesting

Abounding with grace amidst wounded emptiness, vacancy

Still may content with hope to be

In plenty and in want, in any and every situation

Yet may persevere in faith to move forward

No matter come what may, whatever circumstance befallen

Out of such ashes, beauty arises

 
 

So happiest of days

Though this may not be

Always and forever precious moments

In time will they be

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What's new?

"What's new?" "Anything new with you?" "What new thing is going on in your life these days?" These are among the greetings I sometimes hear people say upon seeing someone they know that they might not have seen in awhile. Shopping around Christmastime, browsing at post-holiday bargains, going to the theater, visiting a museum, or maybe stopping by the gas station and/or convenience store, we may inevitably encounter friendly acquaintances with whom we've not caught up recently and utter a query along these lines.


 

Indeed, what is new with you? I'm interested to know. But why? I wonder... Is it natural curiosity? Am I being nosy for some reason? Is it interrogatory hubris, hidden arrogance under a fa├žade of compassion on my part? Do I really care? I suppose some, if one were to probe inwardly, honestly, may not, really. It's just something to say for the moment in order to eventually pass the time on to the next thing that you're actually on the way to do. Each wants to only briefly acknowledge the momentary interruption, yielding instead, to the presiding purpose of our predetermined progression for the time at hand. And so we might humor one another with surface conversations for the sake of exchanging niceties and exercising customary manners.


 

Then again, what if there truly is something in us yearning to discover something fresh and new that would enliven things a bit? What if there was even a remote possibility that something radical, however small it may seem at first, was happening in another person's life that could come to mean the world to us? Could it be that some of us, if not all of us, deep down inside are looking to find a new event—a new experience—that brings fresh joy and fills our hearts anew to overflowing? Not merely a distraction, but a welcome intrusion is instead wanting, waiting to be embraced by us in our very presence. Is it just coincidence, or might there be an underlying theme—an ongoing current throughout humanity's existence which resonates with a deeper truth about who we are and who we are becoming along life's journey? Perhaps in the process, we are being given the opportunity to receive the very precious gift of having a companion along the way to share, if but for a moment, that we are not alone on the road of life and that we are blessed to be able to experience mutual encouragement on the way.


 

As we enter into and embark upon a new year of proclaiming hope, peace, joy, love and life in the light of Advent shining through the ages, our sensibilities and notions of living out our lives in faith are challenged once again to break forth from the drudgingly dreary doldrums, yet also beautifully cheery snows of winter, toward the ensuing, burgeoning brightness of spring. The experience of Revelation as relayed by John through his writing down of the last book in the Bible has one verse that echoes, in my mind, throughout time and space: "Behold, I AM making everything, all things new!" (Revelation 21:5)


 

Upon all of creation's history, these words from The Word reverberate with resounding resonance through the millennia, impacting our continuance and condition in the here and now of the new millennium. Our state of being, whether we are aware of it or not, is greatly affected by the truth of this continually occurring event in the perpetual providence of divinity. The apostle alludes to this in somewhat similar vein when the Pauline writer addresses the saints in Colossae regarding Christ's supremacy that in Him all things are being held together up to this very moment and beyond. (Colossians 1:17) Nothing happens apart from the goodness and steadfast faithfulness of the One Who is holding all of this and every one of us together. As Paul also wrote to the saints in Rome, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Likewise, the prophet in Isaiah (43:19a) tells us, "See, I AM doing a new thing! Now it springs up! Do you not perceive it?" Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is!


 

Ancient words, eternal words from the everlasting Word give us glimpse of eternity. Whether we are reading the daily news or encountering neighborly conversation, the normal, regular routines of our lives can afford us the opportunity to gaze upon the glory of God in Christ through our current circumstance or present situation. Cultivating an awareness of the very holy presence of God, even and maybe especially in seemingly ordinary, mundane activities can help us, like a little child, enter into the wonder of the heavenly realms. Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come, here on earth, as it is, in heaven.


 

The next time you come upon a friendly encounter in which you find yourself saying, "What's new?" you might consider, as you may be prompted in spirit, that you are in the midst of a holy occurrence—a precious moment in sacred space as you willingly engage in the gift of conversation with mutual encouragement for the journey ahead. Indeed, beloved ones, may you and yours experience such blessings upon Christmastide through Epiphany and beyond for the New Year at hand.


 

With the Wind of the Spirit,

Pastor Rex Espiritu


 

P.S. And, oh, say, by the way, what's new with you? :)


 

The Rev. Rex Espiritu serves as senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church, New Castle, Indiana